Archives du mot-clé A380

A380 vs B747

Following Airbus decision on A330neo, speculation is now on next steps for A380 with A380neo (see post on May 21st and recent J. Leahy quotes).

To understand A380 situation and potential, we have decided to go back to B747 days and compare both programs.

Hereunder a cumulative sales comparison of A380 and B747 (including all its major versions).

A380vsB747 v3

First of all, A380 sales profile is similar to B747 sales profile in its first years (delta of between 50 to 100 aircraft in favor of B747, around 20%).

Secondly, after period of stagnation, B747 sales increased significantly (« second breath ») with launch of B747-400.

Thirdly, B777 launch affected and canibalized some B747-400 sales: B747-400 sales did not reach 10 units in one year after B777 launch.

In summary, if we base our analysis on B747 experience, A380neo development is an imperative to get a new « sales impulse » for the program. However, depending on B777X success, this upgrade could very well not be enough to significantly increase sales…

A380neo : game on!

Recently, Fabrice Bregier strongly hinted the need to upgrade the A380 to compete with B777X.

Overall, it would seem that neo philosophy is going to span full Airbus product line very soon with the A320neo set to fly in 2016, the A330neo that could be launched by 2017/8 and the A380neo.

Previously, we have been quite skeptical about the A380neo comparing it to the benefits of developing the A330neo.

However, in a context where wide-body capacity on Airbus side will be lagging with respect to Boeing, resources should be available from A350-1000 and A320neo (partially) and where in the end, A330neo development + A380neo development should amount to lower costs with respect to new development, A380 could be serious option to consider.

In any case, with B777X (and A350-1000 actually), A380 in its current version will be very difficult to sell…

A330neo vs A380neo: the market view

There’s been a lot of discussion on development of ‘neo’ concepts on widebody aircraft recently, specially for Airbus aircraft and after B777X launch.

In this article, we will focus on A330-300 & A380 and try to understand if market demand as it stands today justifies an A330neo or an A380 development.

Note: A330-200 is not treated here.

Market demand

Using Airbus & Boeing market forecasts for A330-300 & A380 aircraft, we find following rough demand estimates


A330-300neo A330-300neo A380neo A380neo

Market forecast origin

Airbus Boeing Airbus


Market 2013-2032

1752 1673 1124


Market share

30% 30% 70%


Market / year 44 42 39



  • A330-300neo & A380neo EIS = 2019
  • A330-300neo production rate = 72 AC / year
  • A380neo production rate = 30 AC / year

Development costs & depreciation aircraft


A330-300neo A330-300neo4 A380neo A380neo7

Dev cost – Aircraft (2013 – M€)

2000 2000 3500


Depreciation horizon (years)

10 10 10


Dev. costs ~ Depreciation / year (M€)

200 200 350


Dev. costs ~ Depreciation / AC (M€) 4.6 4.8 8.9



  • A330-300neo development costs = A320neo development costs x 300 /150 ~ 2 000 M€ (300 is standard seat capacity for 3-class A330-300 & 150 is standard seat capacity for bi-class A320)
  • A380neo development costs = A320neo development costs x 525 /150 ~3 500 M€ (525 is standard capacity for 3-class A380 & 150 is standard seat capacity for bi-class A320)


  • A330-330 type aircraft demand is x1.5 / x2 vs A380 demand – at this stage, Airbus A380 forecast demand seems too optimistic (1300 aircraft over next 20 years => > 60 aircraft /year but average A380 yearly sales to date only 30!)
  • A380neo development costs should also be x1.75 vs A330neo
  • Pending specific profitability analysis (even if I would not expect very big surprises), A330neo development seems more attractive than A380neo as
    • A330neo development cost per unit of aircraft demand stands at ~4.7M€ whereas
    • A380neo development cost per unit of aircraft demand stands at ~14 M€