6 Responses

  1. Jamie Baker
    Jamie Baker at |

    Actually, it’s highly efficient and makes good use of airport labor. Not saying the A380 isn’t well-suited, but the assumption that wingtips (or, near wingtips) is inefficient is flawed.

    1. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      Depends in large part on what is available in the fleet. If all you have is 777s then running two of them is better than running one or none, given the demand is present. But CASM is way lower on a single aircraft and there are other efficiencies from up-gauging trips. UA is following a similar pattern bringing twin-aisle flights back in the domestic market, replacing wingtip’d 737s.

      As for airport labor, I’m assuming that ANA uses contract staff in LA and has plenty of other things for its crew to do in Tokyo. Extending the contract hours in LA to cover the expanded operations doesn’t strike me as an efficient use of people nor cash.

    2. Seth Kaplan
      Seth Kaplan at |

      More broadly, I think this illustrates one of the most fundamental problems of the A380: Okay, so reasonable people can disagree about whether (in a vacuum) one 380 would be better than two 77Ws in this market. (Two reasonable people just did!) Well let’s say Seth is right, and the 380 is the perfect plane here. Okay… But in how many other markets is that the case, where you would want to have such inflexible capacity as a plane that big to fill all the time (rather than, for example, being able to go day-of-week some parts of the year on your second frequency)? If the answer is “not too many markets,” then you’re stuck supporting an aircraft family without much scale… probably with a lot of ground time because if you don’t have very many planes and very many markets in different geographies, you’re not going to have tight rotations… and of course all the mtc inefficiencies… etc., etc., etc. So basically, unless you need probably 20 A380s, it becomes difficult to justify having any. And not very many airlines need 20 A380s. (My sense too is that the A380’s operating economics are surprisingly disappointing. I realize this is not apples to apples because of very different configurations, but to illustrate the point, consider that EK packs 427 people onto a 77W with two engines. It becomes pretty tough to stomach twice as many engines plus the assurance of access to A380 gates, etc., to get not too many additional seats.)

    3. Gavin Werbeloff
      Gavin Werbeloff at |

      Given the amount of revenue cargo ANA flies in the bellies of their 77W, I suspect that they see 2x 77W as more profitable than 1xA380.

    4. Seth Miller
      Seth Miller at |

      I agree that limited markets is really what kills it. That’s always been the problem, with Airbus forecasting airport congestion that did not materialize in many places. That congestion will come eventually in some places, but it is not here yet.

      ANA also gets the quirk of having to support a small fleet because of the SkyMark order it inherited. And the flight timing is such that it could pair LAX and HNL together in a very efficient aircraft routing. But the markets have very different premium/leisure traffic blends making a single configuration hard to justify for both destinations.

      Ultimately I don’t think ANA puts an A380 on the route any time soon and for a variety of reasons. But if ever there was an example where it could be possible I think this is one.

    5. Seth Kaplan
      Seth Kaplan at |

      Yes, you made a good point about it rotating well with HNL. But right, then you’ve got the configuration issue. It just seems like no matter what, it’s always threading a needle to get it to make sense. I wonder if even the risk of inflexible spare a/c capacity factors in – i.e., when an A380 flight takes a mx cxl, you’re kind of screwed, and maybe (although I’m sure this isn’t the primarily consideration) they would rather risk that on HNL than on LAX.