Airbus seems to be finding new ways to expand the role of the A380 without working on the long rumored -900 model. At Innovation Days last week the OEM showed the following slides.
Airbus is offering six weight A380 variants in the -800 model. The 490t version described in the image above will be amazingly quiet – and the airplane is already very quiet. At QC1 this model should be able to use Heathrow any time of the night.
With 5,000 miles range, it would also be able to serve most key markets. The chart below illustrates the wide a set of routes could utilize a 490t A380.Airbus offered this chart that basically comports with the map above.
Bear in mind how Airbus views the world in VLA terms. They make a strong case that large cities will remain hubs and that “hub busting” airplanes like the 787 and A350 have a place. But the big cities are those that cannot grow their airports to accommodate traffic. These cities must utilize VLAs. Airbus has identified 39 cities that are within the VLA arena.
As the earlier chart shows, the A380 is expected to serve all these cities – many non stop from Heathrow. There are other airports nearly as constrained as Heathrow – many are in the EU. With alliances growing ever more prominent we expect to see each of these having A380s or 747-8s in their fleets in order to maximize slot efficiencies.
Finally to illustrate why we find the 490t A380 so interesting, take a look at the next chart. If Emirates were to fly this version, it would not get as much value.
For the biggest A380 customer there is no doubt which model they should select – the heaviest, most capable of all. As the final chart illustrates, this will enable Emirates to reach every corner of the world – regardless of city size. Since they already serve Manchester in the UK with their current A380, a 575t A380 should enable them to open any market they want. Which will terrify every other airline worldwide.