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airliner designs

Jan 1, 2016


That wing, designed for a future, even larger A380
That wing, designed for a future, even larger A380


There are reports abroad, of which this in AirInsight is the best, that All Nippon Airways is buying three Airbus A380s.

That development had been anticipated for some time as a quid pro quo for  Airbus supporting ANA is the awkward aftermath of the bankruptcy of Skymark last year, the Japan flag carrier that had ordered the giant Airbus.

ANA, which has a small fleet of A321s, was supported by Airbus in a restructuring plan for Skymark in which it took a minority interest.

However it had also been anticipated the ANA would buy more than the two A380s that had already been largely completed for delivery to Skymark. Plus, as reported the first of up to six to be built for Russian carrier Transaero, which went broke late last year.

Three A380s would allow ANA to fly the type daily on the Tokyo-New York route as a possible deployment, or to a European city to counter regular A380 services to Japan by British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France.

However reports in Japan say the aircraft will be used for the Hawaii route. The reports also flag a more comprehensive announcement in this quarter concerning route and fleet initiatives and renewals.

Three A380s could readily fly at least twice daily on the Tokyo-Sydney route if through growth and marketing, ANA’s recent return to the Australia market prospers.

There are many routes that will need larger capacity jets and cabin configurations in the next decade absent any external ‘surprises’.

The A380 may be too soon today for some routes (although not it seems anything that Emirates flies) but growth and restricted availability of airport slots in a rising number of city pairs may change that.

Airbus has been silent on these reports to date. The other Airbus news that has been relatively light in detail so far,  has been the delay of first deliveries of the A320NEO with the new geared turbo fan engine from Pratt & Whitney until sometime ‘soon’ because of documentation problems.

Separately, P & W has briefed technical media that there is an irregular cooling issue with the engine which it is confident of addressing in the near term.



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13 thoughts on “But, will All Nippon buy more than three Airbus A380s?

  1. Tango

    The P&W issue looks to be a rotor rigidity problem that supposedly is solved (patched) with the right cool-down to keep it form rubbing (P&W had the same problem on the F-35 engine. Seems they have a lot of quality control problems (nasty oil seal issue and another one on lube on the A320 during certification.

    As for ANA, the A380 deal will have to see. Leahy keeps claiming he is on the verge of major A380 deals and nothing happens (well Emirate buys more but you have to wonder if its desperation that has them flying on obscure routes and will only know in 4 to 6 months how good the long term load factors are)

    also if ANAS picks up the Skylark A380s it does nothing for production and Malaysia has theirs up for sale so they can pickup all they need for cheap and not have to buy any new ones.

  2. pieter

    The Europe-Japan market is a disaster at the moment. It was already bad, but after the Paris attacks it got even worse.

    Lots of airlines are now cutting capacity. None of the EU3 is flying their A380s there and neither is Emirates. The only A380s serving Japan are from Thai and Singapore Airlines (the latter going on to LAX).

    The link in the linked Airinsight report suggests ANA will deploy theirs to Hawaii, which seems a reasonable assumption.

  3. keesje

    ANA has been operating VLA’s for decades. I assume they will continue to use VLA’s in the future to places like Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Ney York and Sydney. Just evolution.

    Replacing a 747 with a 777 means surrendering market share and freight on most daily flights to Europe and US.

    Probably not more then 20-25 because ANA have the single deck 777-9s on order too.

  4. patrick kilby

    With the very clear exception of EK which is in a very good hub position (especially for South and West Asia) but needs a hot weather capacity as well as being able to overcome slot restrictions; it seems that (for others) a fleet of about a dozen seems to the be ideal number. The A380 is really for slot restricted main gateways and some very long range routes (e.g Syd-DFW).

    Tango I am not sure any of the EK routes are obscure (I have heard of them all, and I am sure the planes are full) but it uses them to secondary cities because Dubai is hot and slot restricted, and there is a market.

  5. Uwe

    “Leahy keeps claiming he is on the verge of major A380 deals and nothing happens ..”

    It is interesting to note that all A380 sales campaigns that were made public from non airbus or customers sources seem to have foundered.
    I would interpret this as a lot of backstage arm twisting by “someone” going on if this entity gains knowledge but the sale is not finalized. Only party known for such behaviour is the US.

  6. paul rogers

    The Passenger appeal of the 380 should not be overlooked as another potential reason that ANA has decided to take 3 A380s!
    ANA and JAL are very customer service focused.
    I understand that ANA are well aware of the effect on their premium traffic between Singapore and Tokyo vv,since SIA introduced the 380 on that route!
    So while hawaii maybe an intial route for capacity reasons, i dont think ANA would run 3 380s daily to Hawaii, so it will be interesting to see were else they use them, and if they decide to buy anymore.
    I have no doubt in the current situation Airbus will make them a very keen offer!

  7. Arcanum

    keesje, even the most ardent Airbus fanboy couldn’t seriously believe ANA is going to buy 20-25 A380s!

  8. Ben Sandilands

    I take a different perspective on this. Provided large network carriers survive in this uncertain world and markets grow and prosper they will buy airliners in the VLA category as variously defined.

    Will they be A380s, larger A380s, all new VLAs or stretched 777-Xs. Does the future belong to a 777-10 which looks proportionately like a 757-300 or a CRJ-1000 with new undergear? Possibly not if you’ve ever had to deplane from a full 757-300 and make fleet decisions (hey, we know you’re reading this, all two of you).

    The future is bigger than the present, not just on short haul but long haul, and its a hotter future that poses really serious issues at some hubs where days above 46-47C will become more numerous, not to mention airfields where 38C+ was never considered a serious problem.

    Does that mean hundreds of future orders for A380s? Not necessarily. But it does mean something much larger or more numerous is going to be called for, and there are limits to fuselage stretches and the diameters of first stage compressors in jet engines as currently practised!

    In two decades time, with the benefit of hindsight, another generation of plane watchers may well say, shucks, it was obvious all along that a radical new approach to airliner design was going to arise. Whatever that may be.

  9. Dan Dair

    Are there any real signs of a radical change in mass-transport aviation transport.?

    As has been mentioned on these ‘pages’ before,
    current aircraft are very-much an evolution of what went before,
    consequently the expectation would be that whatever comes next will also be an evolution of what’s currently in place, rather than a revolution.

    If teleportation or A380-sized HOTOL/SkyLON is just around the corner, then great,
    but (& I’ll stand to be proved completely wrong), I don’t see anything new & radical on the immediate horizon.?

  10. Ben Sandilands


    That’s the rub, as someone once wrote. We never see radical change until it changes us. Sail meeting steam, and whale oil meeting electricity being distant examples, and the pain of the internet meeting print, to use a recent personal life altering experience.

  11. ghostwhowalksnz

    Considering the last real advance, the supersonic Concorde was not commercially successful, but it too would have had a ‘derivative’- that didnt go into production- that remarkably didnt need afterburners in its Olympus engines.
    The real advance of the 20th century was the bulk delivery of raw materials, including oil, around the world by shipping. None of the rest would have been possible and remarkably its the large low speed marine diesel thats behind it.
    The last to catch up with ‘bulk delivery’ has been airlines and their passengers.

  12. Ben Sandilands


    That’s so true. As a kid my father took me to sea (as a chief engineer) on ships seldom larger than 4000 tonnes, and pre container. His career ended on oil tankers of close to 100,000 tonnes, huge in their time, minnows today.

    But there is a change coming rapidly in the form of energy that doesn’t require transport. The power storage revolution means electricity doesn’t need poles and wires to distribute. The algal (not bio blend) fuels under development don’t need tankers or long range pipelines. They can be made adjacent to airports. With fuel transport costs sometimes exceeding 25 percent, or possibly much more at current depressed levels of value for coal and lpg and crude, the made-on-the-spot renewable non fossil carbon releasing sources of energy have obvious implications for current energy transport or distribution systems.

    People well, yeah we are inconvenient in terms of transport efficiency. All this juggling of bone pain, and reduced space, on full service as well as low cost carriers, leads somewhere some of us mightn’t want to go.

  13. Zarathrusta


    I agree but with a slightly different twist. The real advance of the later 20th century, was not new capabilities but new economics that made the earlier advances such as jet travel available to the masses.

    Few people in the seventies traveling on “Super” apex fares would believe that a family of four could travel by jet Brisbane to Townsville return for around $600 and that’s $600 in today’s money not seventies money!


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