Qantas Finally Cancels Remaining Airbus A380s

By wanderingvan | Feb 09, 2019, 07:43 AM
In 1858, the SS Great Eastern was launched. She was the largest passenger ship by far at her time, able to carry 4000 passengers on her transatlantic crossing and can cruise from UK to Australia without refueling. Only 40 years latter that her size was surpassed. She was a great ship but a financial disaster. After 8 years, she was converted to a transatlantic cable laying ship and ended up as an advertisement hoarding.

Hopefully, the A380 will have a brighter future but the writing is on the wall once the project Sunrise takes hold rendering a stopover in Dubai unnecessary for connecting any 2 cities in the world.
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By nige00160 | Feb 09, 2019, 09:22 AM
The NY Times ran a story this week that summed it up: "Airbus made the wrong prediction about travel preferences. People would rather take direct flights on smaller airplanes than get on big airplanes — no matter their feats of engineering — that make connections through huge hubs". The Arab airlines have leveraged the size of the a380 to deliver revolutionary improvements in the Business Class and First Class markets. As a passenger if given a choice I choose the a380 every time. But in the airline business economics ultimately wins the orders.
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By kimshep | Feb 09, 2019, 11:01 AM
Not an unexpected decision by QF, who has been publicly clear over the last 2 years that these additional 8 frames would not be taken up.

What I find w-a-y more interesting is that there is absolutely no mention or even discussion of the QF deposit for these frames. Perhaps the mid-year accounts will either tell a fascinating tale - or at least enlighten us?

The again, perhaps no mention will appear. Could it be that Airbus is clearing the decks where uncommitted orders are being pruned in order to potentially shut the A380 line down, post 2024-5? Bear in mind that a new management team is on it's way in at Airbus.

But does this portend a possible selection of another Airbus product? If QF has had to eat / lose the deposit, then some reporting of this would be expected. If the deposit is transferred, one would expect that to be foot-noted in a purchase announcement somewhere? Or if Airbus has decided to 'refund' the deposit in order to have an orderly shutdown of the A380 program, then that would surely be of interest to QF shareholders?

All very 'cloak and dagger' right now - and seemingly surrounded in secrecy.
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By aklrunway | Feb 09, 2019, 11:43 AM
Not an unexpected decision by QF, who has been publicly clear over the last 2 years that these additional 8 frames would not be taken up.

What I find w-a-y more interesting is that there is absolutely no mention or even discussion of the QF deposit for these frames. Perhaps the mid-year accounts will either tell a fascinating tale - or at least enlighten us?

The again, perhaps no mention will appear. Could it be that Airbus is clearing the decks where uncommitted orders are being pruned in order to potentially shut the A380 line down, post 2024-5? Bear in mind that a new management team is on it's way in at Airbus.

But does this portend a possible selection of another Airbus product? If QF has had to eat / lose the deposit, then some reporting of this would be expected. If the deposit is transferred, one would expect that to be foot-noted in a purchase announcement somewhere? Or if Airbus has decided to 'refund' the deposit in order to have an orderly shutdown of the A380 program, then that would surely be of interest to QF shareholders?

All very 'cloak and dagger' right now - and seemingly surrounded in secrecy.

I’d imagine any conversion would be commercially sensitive in nature and wouldn’t need to be reported until a fleet announcement is made. If no refund or loss than I’d assume that confidentiality would prevail as it wouldn’t be affecting the books at this point. Airbus has the money, whatever aircraft that pays for won’t need to be reported until a fleet announcement or more funds come/go.
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By andyf | Feb 09, 2019, 05:14 PM
Airbus A380. Lovely aircraft for passengers for long haul. Boeing 787 the opposite. The Boeing 777x is interesting. Wider cabin that 787. But not currently in service. Airbus A350 would be best for long haul

I doubt the 777x is anything to look forward to for people in economy. While some carriers have fitted their existing 777s with 9-across seating (Singapore, Virgin, and Delta among them) ... I somehow doubt airlines ordering new aircraft will, and we will end up with the horrible 10-across seating that is already used on the 777 by airlines like Emirates and Air New Zealand.
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By Himeno | Feb 09, 2019, 08:42 PM
Qantas has finally cancelled the remaining 6 a380's from its 2006 order with Airbus. No word on any arrangement for substitution to another Airbus model. This has been expected for quite some time. But when all the 747's are gone there may be a shortage of long-haul seats for a couple of years until the 777x becomes available. That's my guess anyway.

These haven't really been 'planned' anyway. I suspect that without project sunrise aircraft arriving before 747s are retired, routes are going to be downsized from 747s to a330 and 787s which is a real reduction of seats. Hopefully they will introduce additional frequencies at that time.

I would expect that they'll come out late this year/early next year to say they are keeping at least the 6 744ERs for longer.
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By whoppersandwich | Feb 10, 2019, 01:47 PM
The rumours are rife regarding the fate of ERs - but I agree, an extention is highly likely.
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By khiemha | Feb 10, 2019, 04:46 PM
It'll be a great day when all the Qantas Airbus380s are gone. It was the company's biggest mistake. It should have purchased a long haul Boeing, either the 777 or the latest technologically updated 747. Unfortunately 20/20 hindsight is totally useless. The squeezy 787 just doesn't cut the mustard for long haul comfort. I ask again - when did Qantas management, including Alan Joyce, travel in the sardine section of a 787. They'd cease calling it a 'dreamliner' if or when they do.

A380 is the first option every time I book a flight. Great aircraft (for passengers). Not so good for the airlines, unfortunately. Another plus is the availability to upgrade to First, so I'm a bit sad to learn that Qantas has cancelled the order for the remaining A380's.
Looking at the bright side, once the makeover is completed, it wouldn't be too disappointed if you don't get upgraded to First ;-)
Last edited by khiemha at Feb 10, 2019, 04.46 PM.
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By Traveller14 | Feb 10, 2019, 06:02 PM
It'll be a great day when all the Qantas Airbus380s are gone. It was the company's biggest mistake. It should have purchased a long haul Boeing, either the 777 or the latest technologically updated 747. Unfortunately 20/20 hindsight is totally useless. The squeezy 787 just doesn't cut the mustard for long haul comfort. I ask again - when did Qantas management, including Alan Joyce, travel in the sardine section of a 787. They'd cease calling it a 'dreamliner' if or when they do.
It is the quietest aircraft I've flown on in the Qantas fleet and I don't think it was a mistake at all. Look at the demand for their Kangaroo route and you can see the a380 frequently gets filled to the brim. Even a 777 or 747 doesn't have that capacity. It certainly doesn't look like they are making a mistake with a380s because they are planning to keep them far into the future.

I agree though that the 787 is quite tight - would have been better if they chose the a350. Here's hoping their sunrise 777x/a350 will be a more comfortable experience.


But Qantas used to have two A380s a day each way to London - now it's only one, plus the half size B789. So that's a reduction in available seats of 25 per cent overall, though moe complicated by the various individual classes of travel. Hardly a success.
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By Madhatter49 | Feb 10, 2019, 11:04 PM
I expect the logical choice will definitely be the A350 for project sunrise as I read that airlines prefer manufacturer diversity, to do with not being all reliant on one brand. If that company has difficulties of any type would be wise to have some of their fleet diversified. When the A330 and A380 are due to be replaced in the coming 10 years, if they had a full fleet of 787 and 777x, they would be far too Boeing centric then.
Plus the 380 deposit credit would be a bargaining tool to get applied to the A350 deal instead of break sales contract fees.

I wonder if Airbus will give them interest earned on the deposit while in escrow though, that would be a nice sum.

So maybe that's what all this is about is the remaining 380 cancellation is an indicator of a Sunrise project winner and they're now in the A350 negotiation phase?
Should be an interesting next few months.
They said a Sunrise decision would be early in the year i think.
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By Rod H | Feb 11, 2019, 09:16 AM

There's absolutely no doubt that the A380 is a passengers dream to travel in. I have tried all 3 classes and it is superb up front , fabulous a bit further back and very good the rest of the way aft. So quiet and roomy . The best ever. What a shame to see orders lagging but I guess economics beats comfort for Airlines these days, Still , the A350 is the next best thing by far. Leaves the B777 and B787 for dead as far as passenger comfort goes. Having travelled quite a bit in all 3 I would pick the A350 anytime over the Boeing models. Far superior aeroplane for passengers and very good too for the Airlines.Lets hope QF listen to passengers comments about comfort and order lots of them.

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By kimshep | Feb 11, 2019, 11:10 AM
So maybe that's what all this is about is the remaining 380 cancellation is an indicator of a Sunrise project winner and they're now in the A350 negotiation phase?
Should be an interesting next few months.
They said a Sunrise decision would be early in the year i think.

Maybe a little early to suggest the above regarding Project Sunrise. My take is that Airbus may possibly be considering closing out all unfulfilled orders (bar EK's) and that QF has chosen this point in time to formally cancel. Should QF select the A350 (in either the -900 or 1000 variant, or even both), it will be beneficial in that no-one will be able to accuse QF of choosing Airbus 'because of the need to transfer deposits'. This move alone will make QF's selection process considerably more transparent - and somewhat immune from challenge by any manufacturer.

You're definitely 'on the money' that the next few months will be interesting. Like you, I am hoping for an Airbus decision, rather than the heavier B777-8. An 'in-service' frame with known costs is generally preferable to a yet to be certified'paper' airplane with 'proposed' costs. Hopefully QF has learnt a lesson with the initial A380 delays and the even later and longer delays with the 'lateliner' B787's.
Last edited by kimshep at Feb 11, 2019, 11.11 AM.
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By kimshep | Feb 12, 2019, 01:24 PM
I’d imagine any conversion would be commercially sensitive in nature and wouldn’t need to be reported until a fleet announcement is made. If no refund or loss than I’d assume that confidentiality would prevail as it wouldn’t be affecting the books at this point. Airbus has the money, whatever aircraft that pays for won’t need to be reported until a fleet announcement or more funds come/go.


Not the case. Both QF and Airbus - along with Rolls Royce (as a 3rd party) - all adopted and conform to International Accounting Standards now. So, this requires reporting - and in fact, may be part of the reason why Airbus could be voluntarily seeking confirmations of non-firmed up orders. 'Commercial Confidentially' may be in place but where frame additions / cancellations, occur, these now need to be financially reported. The same applies to capital expenditure via deposits - since these are usually recorded as long-term assets. Boeing was forced to revise it's order book in this fashion over the last 12 months - and while Airbus 'deferred' it's adoption of said accounting standards last year, they were put in place at the beginning of this year.

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By SteveCF | Feb 12, 2019, 10:03 PM
...hope Alan orders a whole lot of A350's. They're heaps more comfortable than the 777's

Let's not forget the 777 was originally designed over 25 years ago, I think it only fair we keep open minds for the 777x.
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