An enhanced version of the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet is likely on the way, just maybe not as soon as some in the company believe it might be.
According to a report from FlightGlobal, Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier, said this week that the 2022 or 2023 date previously tossed out by Airbus sales chief John Leahy was “too early.”
Emirates, the largest customer of the A380, has been encouraging an upgrade like the “neo,” new-engine option, the company has rolled out on both the A320 and A330 line.
Bregier acknowledged that it’s important to have a major customer pushing for the aircraft, but also said the company must still make the business case for the upgrade — in an era where massive jets aren’t as coveted by most airlines as smaller, more efficient models — before it can launch a new A380 program.
But he did indicate that it is likely coming at some point.
Emirates might take as many as 100 more aircraft, which is a lot of revenue (at least at list price), but some say the economics do not work. Even for a very large aircraft, a development program for only 100 units probably will not be a winner. Additional sales, in theory, could bring the program closer to an overall breakeven, but each additional delivery will be burdened by $25 million if there are only 100 delivered, even before accounting for interest on the additional development cost.