Could Cathay launch the Airbus A380-900?

A380 HK.jpgDuring a recent visit to Toulouse for an Airbus A330 delivery flight for Cathay Pacific, Airbus pulled out all stops to impress the Hong Kong-based carrier’s executives with the A380. No surprise there, given that the airline could be one of the most lucrative customers for the type.

Yet, Cathay remains hesitant. And its chief operating officer John Slosar gave us some insights into the carrier’s thinking after the trip.

He says that at least 10-15 aircraft are needed to make it cost effective. It appears as though the carrier is still not convinced that it needs that many large passenger aircraft. Until then, the existing orders for Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350s are more than enough to for Cathay’s long-haul plans for the next decade, and replace its Boeing 747-400s and A340-300s.

More intriguingly, he talks about the lack of cargo space within the A380. That is important for an airline like Cathay that derives around 30% of its revenue from the cargo business.

Let me make it clear – Slosar does not actually say that Cathay will buy the aircraft if a stretched A380-900 variant is introduced. But it does appear to be a message to Airbus nonetheless – start to design the larger variant, and involve the customers like Cathay.

So Cathay as the launch customer for the A380-900? Watch this space.

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5 Responses to Could Cathay launch the Airbus A380-900?

  1. Otis 2 November, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    How about Cathay launching the A380-800 Combi instead?

  2. Otis 2 November, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    How about Airbus launching the A380-800 instead?

  3. Ikaput 3 November, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    I must say that Airbus has a head start on the A380-800F wing and engines all they would need to do is split the upper level lose the rear stair for an elevator an woila, you have a combi for both passengers and LD-3, -6, -11, type containers with a good 5000nm range plus reserves. FEDEX order may have fallen through but this could be the second coming orf Christ for Airbus

  4. Geraud 4 November, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Hello Will, thank you for this very interesting post, although I’m surprised: is the cargo capacity of a A380-8 smaller than the one of a 777-3 or a 747-4?

  5. Uwe 11 January, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

    A380 sucks up space for two decks worth of passenger luggage
    while the 777 and 744 only take single deck worth of luggage.
    i.e. the _remaining_ amount of cargo space after having taken on a full load of passengers with luggage is smaller on the A380 ( with the 777 having the most excess room down below ?)

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