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Superjumbo stalled another year

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Yada Yada

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theaustralian.news.com.au said:

Superjumbo stalled another year

Steve Creedy
October 04, 2006

DELIVERIES of Airbus's flagship A380 superjumbo will be delayed for up to another year after problems at the European manufacturer turned out to be worse than thought.
The extra delay is likely to put off the superjumbo's entry into service on the Singapore-Sydney route until later next year and see Qantas deliveries delayed well into 2008.

The board of Airbus parent company EADS met yesterday and was expected to confirm as early as today that the troubled program's third delay would be longer than airlines were initially led to believe. Deliveries are also expected to be slower.

Airbus insiders last month gave some hint of the extent of the problem when they warned that deliveries to Qantas and Emirates, already delayed twice, would not take place until the first quarter of 2008.

Speculation yesterday was that Airbus's new production schedule would mean those deliveries would now not take place until later that year, putting them two years behind.

There were also suggestions delivery of the first plane to Singapore Airlines would be put back from December to the second half of next year. Singapore had planned to launch the aircraft this year and had been running an extensive campaign telling people it would be first to fly the A380. The delay will force the launch airlines to find other planes to service planned A380 routes and angry carriers will claim further compensation, already estimated to be costing Airbus E2 billion ($3.4 billion). Qantas has already booked $104 million in compensation for the first two delays to its 12 A380s and has indicated it will seek additional compensation for further delays.


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rawstory.com said:
Another A380 delay would delay retirement of B747-400s in Singapore

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday October 3, 2006

Singapore- A third delay in the delivery of the Airbus 380 superjumbo jet would postpone Singapore Airlines' retirement of its fleet of Boeing 747-400s, company spokesman Stephen Forshaw said in a report published Tuesday.

"The consequences of the A380 delay is the inability to grow capacity on the flights where we would like to replace 747-400s with the larger A380s," Forshaw told The Business Times amid reports from Toulouse, France, that Airbus would soon be informing clients such as Singapore Airlines, Emirates Airline and Qantas Airways that the delivery schedule could be pushed back by up to another six months.


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Bad news for all concerned. This may see some interesting knock-on effects in many airlines looking for capacity.
 

simongr

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I wonder at this rate if the 787 Dreamliner will be in serivce first :mrgreen:
 

oz_mark

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This is really going to cause the carriers grief!

As for the 787, will have to wait and see if it makes it first, but I suspect that it will have some of its own issues along the way.
 

NM

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looks like QF's plan to retire one of its 747-338s at the end of this year may have to be delayed. Though I expect that plan was timed around a major service requirement (C or D check) for VH-EBY or VH-EBV.
 

JohnK

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Sounds like we will have to wait until 2009 to sample the A380 with QF!
 

maninblack

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NM said:
looks like QF's plan to retire one of its 747-338s at the end of this year may have to be delayed. Though I expect that plan was timed around a major service requirement (C or D check) for VH-EBY or VH-EBV.
They may have no choice. They are already stripping VH-EBU (Nalanji Dreaming) for parts and are short on parts for the Rolls-Royce RB211-5 24D4U engines. Just flat out bad planning by QF as they should have bought more 744's years ago and I will stick with my argument that if they had bought a fleet of A340 instead of A330 much of these problems would have been reduced.

They may at some stage have to reduce routes or numbers of services...or lease, but as discussed before that may be problematic.
 

Altair

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maninblack said:
They may have no choice. They are already stripping VH-EBU (Nalanji Dreaming) for parts and are short on parts for the Rolls-Royce RB211-5 24D4U engines. Just flat out bad planning by QF as they should have bought more 744's years ago and I will stick with my argument that if they had bought a fleet of A340 instead of A330 much of these problems would have been reduced.

They may at some stage have to reduce routes or numbers of services...or lease, but as discussed before that may be problematic.
The A340 are much more expensive to run than the A330, especially fuel costs.
I am so glad that Qantas ordered the 747-400ER as some form of insurance against this, but way too few it turns out. Qantas will probably be looking at when some 747s will need a "D" check and deciding whether to pay for it or not. I do question if Airbus can keep to this schedule and that Qantas may now be considering the new 747-8i as a complementary order. The problem, the new 747 has not sold any passenger versions and the proposed EIS is around 2010.
Other options, not many second hand 747-400 around, A340 has terrible resale value and would be another type, A330 are certainly popular but with the 787 and the A350 the resale will be down, 777 a new type but large backlog of orders, more 787, they are too small and will take too long to deliver.
Certainly interesting times for Qantas planners and schedulers, and leaves us with the 767 plying those routes and any seat improvements delayed as well.:evil:
 

simongr

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Altair said:
Certainly interesting times for Qantas planners and schedulers, and leaves us with the 767 plying those routes and any seat improvements delayed as well.:evil:
Just wondering based on that comment whether there is a plan to put some new J class seat in the A380 - some replacement (I fear to say enhancement) for the Skybed?
 

Skyring

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I've just updated the Wikipedia article on the A380. Been battling with editors who couldn't supply an unambiguous source, and finally found one on Reuters. SIA seems to be saying nowt for the moment.

The first two for SIA are built, flown, tested, fitted out, so I'm wondering what the hold up is. It must be the wing.
 

simongr

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Yada Yada said:
If the new seats to be rolled out on the CX fleet are anything to go by, the Skybed will be out of date next year (if not already).

Cathay Pacific - What's Onboard : Travel Classes > Preview The New Seats
I looked at those a little while ago - I think they look pretty ugly - the material looks kind of old fashioned. I guess the big difference is the screen size, the fact that they are fully flat and they are 6' 6" - which is big enough even for me!

Given my upcoming travel to HKG next year - I might be flying on Cathay a bit more so might get to give these a go :)
 

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simongr said:
I looked at those a little while ago - I think they look pretty ugly - the material looks kind of old fashioned. I guess the big difference is the screen size, the fact that they are fully flat and they are 6' 6" - which is big enough even for me!

Given my upcoming travel to HKG next year - I might be flying on Cathay a bit more so might get to give these a go :)
Ugly or not, they look pretty good to me. CX is my favorite OW carrier already. I like the new configuration - every J seat aisle and window at once. Mind you I'll have to crane my neck a bit more to get a view out.
 

Altair

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Skyring said:
I've just updated the Wikipedia article on the A380. Been battling with editors who couldn't supply an unambiguous source, and finally found one on Reuters. SIA seems to be saying nowt for the moment.

The first two for SIA are built, flown, tested, fitted out, so I'm wondering what the hold up is. It must be the wing.
Yes they are built and had some flights, but not part of the flight test programme, Ethiad planes are being used and running up the cycles and hours, they even re-engined one with the EA. They are not fitted out, Airbus have been doing some extended range tests flying those lucky employees around but they were not fitted out with a customer interior but a generic Airbus interior.
I do not think it is simply a wiring issue, and no redesigning the wiring is not easy, but something else. The wing failure was cleared after they strengthened the failed area.
 

maninblack

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Altair said:
The A340 are much more expensive to run than the A330, especially fuel costs.
The A340 may be more expensive to run but it runs anywhere you want it to go. A long haul airline like QF could use that flexibility. VS and others seem to do okay with them.
 

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maninblack said:
Just flat out bad planning by QF ...
Sounds more like bad planning on Airbus' part to me. How does an airline plan for a 2-year delay in delivery of new equipment?

I expect we will see more "compensation" from Airbus, either in form of more aircraft (like the 2 extra A330-200s on their way) or financial compensation to allow Qantas to lease aircraft to fill the void.

I think Qantas has managed the A380 delay well so for (for the first 12 months of delays). Its the second 12 months that are going to hurt more. And with all the promises from Airbus about expected delivery dates, I don't hold the same level of blame for QF management. The extent of the delay really is out of their control and beyond what I would expect them to include as contingency in the planning process. No airline that ordered the A380, including SQ and EK, had backup plans for a 2 year delay, so why should we expect QF to prepare in any different manner. If they had planned with spare aircraft capacity for a 2-year overlap, we would all be complaining that they were wasteful and too conservative. I think this is a no-win situation for them.
 

maninblack

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NM said:
Sounds more like bad planning on Airbus' part to me. How does an airline plan for a 2-year delay in delivery of new equipment?
How did I know I'd be hearing from you ;)

Bad planning because for 5+ years they have been ordering the wrong aircraft to suit their needs irrespective of the A380 delays.
 

Skyring

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NM said:
Sounds more like bad planning on Airbus' part to me. How does an airline plan for a 2-year delay in delivery of new equipment?
Heads are rolling down the aisles at Airbus. If Boeing can get their act together with the 787 and 748, they have a golden opportunity to catch up.
 

Altair

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maninblack said:
The A340 may be more expensive to run but it runs anywhere you want it to go. A long haul airline like QF could use that flexibility. VS and others seem to do okay with them.
Yes you are right, no ETOPS restrictions for those experienced Long Haul airlines. I actually like the Airbus widebodies as the 8 across in Y is comfortable, along with the 9 across in the 777, the seats are wider and I think those planes are quieter. VS seem to waste too much space in the Upper Class cabin.
The 747 Y width, not pitch, seats (17.2 inch?) are not comfortable!!!!
I was so looking forward to the A380 and Qantas promised new look cabins....
 

Altair

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Skyring said:
Heads are rolling down the aisles at Airbus. If Boeing can get their act together with the 787 and 748, they have a golden opportunity to catch up.
The 787 does not have the capacity of the A380, you cannot run an extra service into slot restricted airports, buying more LHR ones, if available, would cost too much.
747-8i has close to the capacity but limited growth, well no one has bought them before due to previous A380 delays, I think new customers will seriously look into them now because the deliver dates will be the same. If airlines start ordering the 777-300ER instead then the 747-8 will probably remain a freighter only version.
 

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maninblack said:
How did I know I'd be hearing from you ;)
I am not one to disappoint :D
maninblack said:
Bad planning because for 5+ years they have been ordering the wrong aircraft to suit their needs irrespective of the A380 delays.
That's a pretty bold statement. Can you justify it?

Lets look at just what Qantas has ordered since 2000.

  • 747-400ER was ordered in November 2000 and first delivery was in October 2002. Again I believe these have been a good investment for Qantas. Perhaps they could now use a few more of them, but at the time the order was placed the numbers were appropriate.
  • A380 was ordered in November 2000 (initial Letter of Intent dated 29th November 2000). Initially deliveries were expected in late 2005, and as we now know that has slipped by 2 years.
  • At the same time they ordered 7 x A330-200 and 6 x A330-300. These numbers have changed slightly since the initial order as they changed one -200 for a -300 and ordered a few more -300s in January 2004. I know your view is that QF should have bought A340 instead, but the additional capital cost and ongoing maintenance costs would have meant either more debt and higher operating costs (lower margins or higher fares, take your pick) or less aircraft could have been purchased. The airbus special A380 sale incentive was for A330 aircraft and not A340 since Airbus had some A330 delivery slots they needed to allocate and did not have the slack on the A340 order book at the time.
  • 737-800 was ordered in late 2001 with first deliveries in Feb 2002. In my view that was a good move as they could source aircraft at short notice as AA was unable/unwilling to take delivery of their initial commitment and Boeing was willing to move the slots to QF. They have become the backbone of the domestic operation. Another 5 x 737-800 were ordered in March 2004.
  • Six new 717s were announced in April 2002 for deliver in May and June that year. As we now know these became part of the initial Jetstar fleet and are now back in QantasLink colours. I think they have been quite successful and proven to be versatile in the QF fleet.
  • in December 2003 Qantas ordered 6 new Dash 8-Q300 aircraft for delivery in the first half of 2004. These have been the backbone of the regional network in Qld and NSW as well as operating some services to Tasmania.
  • Also in December 2003 Qantas launched Jetstar and announced the order for 23 x A320 aircraft. Whether we like JQ or not, the A320 seems to have been a good choice for them.
  • In January 2005 Qantas announced the purchase of 7 x Dash 8-Q400 aircraft.
  • In December 2005, Qantas announced its order for 65 x Boeing 787s (plus 50 options).

So just which of these were orders for the wrong aircraft?

Please consider that Qantas plans to operate each of these aircraft types for a considerable time, likely 20+ years for most of the Jet fleet (with the possible exception of the 717s), so they are looking at long-term decisions and not short-term stop-gaps. Anything they buy has to fit into the fleet for around 20 years just as they have with the 707, 747-200, 747-300, 767-200, 767-300 fleets, and also with the 737-300/400 fleet they acquired from TN. There are all sorts of aircraft that would be nice to have in the fleet right now, but not many that would fit into the long-term fleet plans that include the ordered A380s and 787s as the next generation in terms of revenue seat cost and operational efficiency.
 
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