“I am pretty convinced that this A380 will get additional orders this year and the years to come,” he said. Bregier believes “we have the potential to achieve” break-even levels on the program in 2015.
Emirates operates the world’s largest A380 fleet, with 31 aircraft in service and 59 on order, according to the AWIN Fleets database.
It is also flying the aircraft in unusual ways, such as Dubai International Airport to Malpensa Airport in Milan, or a flight a day between Dubai and the U.K.’s Manchester Airport.
“Dubai-Milan, Dubai-Manchester, is it point-to-point or is it hub? It’s a mix,” said Bregier. “It’s a market which didn’t exist and with the talent of Emirates, the vision of [airline president] Tim Clark and the quality of A380 he makes a lot of money with it.”
Tom Williams, executive vice president of programs for Airbus, notes that “when we talked about the destinations we could fly the aircraft to, we originally had about 26 major destinations in mind. We certainly didn’t have Manchester in mind. It wasn’t one of our destinations.”
While depeaking and other changes are real, other changes have come into play that also help the A380’s business case. Slot restrictions and noise restrictions play a major role, and the airplane’s size and relative quiet have proved attractive at those airports.
“So if you’ve flown down to Sydney, you know that if you end up changing or doing a stop in Bangkok, you’ll see the A380s leaving earlier than the other aircraft, and that’s because they’re allowed to come into Sydney much earlier in the morning than non-A380 aircraft,” Williams said. “And that’s just because of the quietness of the aircraft,” which opens up new destinations.