Home » Commercial » Airbus » A380 » A380 Combi – Saving the Airbus A380

The A380 is failing – it’s common knowledge. Orders have slowed and the first has been sent to the scrap heap. But is the program salvageable? Could an A380 combi satisfy cargo and passenger demand?

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57 comments

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  • The A380 was a waste of money and resources…not to mention how ugly the darn thing is (sorry to all those airbus lovers) but im glad its fading out of service. At least the 747 will live on in the cargo sector.

  • Combis, in general, were not popular and are not built today at all. There are several problems, the risk of carrying potentially dangerous cargo along with hundreds of passengers as well as extreme unpopularity with the passengers themselves. Also, cargo and passengers quite often have different scheduling needs and loading cargo just lead to too many flight delays which piss off the PAX as well.

  • Big problem with a combi version…. Weight !!!

    Airlines have already switched to expensive composite ULD containers in order to reduce takeoff weight. Now you’re asking an A380 to perform long haul 6-16 hour flights with heavy oversized cargo? Not all airports have 13,000ft + runways

  • Boeing won the battle with point to point aircraft (787). Hub and spoke airline travel is dying. Those of you that think the A380 is a viable aircraft are kidding yourselves. Accept reality and let it go the way of the 747. I don’t like it either, but it is reality. I will never forget my first 747 ride, it was on “the great pumpkin” (Braniff’s 747).

  • Surprisingly, Air Fraance-KLM and IAG (British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia primarily) might be interested. Why? Because it may allow high-value goods to be shipped while still carrying passengers.

  • I think it's an excellent idea and I think the airplane is ahead of its time and we should try to come up with ideas to preserve it

  • This needs to be reviewed after 10 or 20 a380 have retired. The first SQ a380 was over weight by 5 tons and maybe the reason SQ wad keen to retire it and why nobody wants it.

  • no, the a380 is just too big. I think that airlines should and are favoring frequency over the number of ppl per flight bc the better timing it is per person the more likely they are to fly with you. and they would still get about the same amount per seat.

    • What about with Airtravel skyrocketing in recent years and doesn't show any slow down? Will there be a time when the A380 becomes practical?

  • The only airline that believed in the 747 combi was KLM. Very few were made and SAA had a fire kinda ending the life of the combi aircrafts. There are many problems with Combi's starting at the gate, increasing turn around times something costly at congested airports. The A380 was designed for passenger comfort not for hauling freight like the 747 was. The space to weight ratio is what held back the A380 freighter as it would either be to heavy fully loaded or 60% of its volume would not be usable.
    The 747 has a higher MTOW over the C-5 Galaxy. However the 747 can't hold tanks and other bulky military lift items. Had Airbus designed the A380 with an upper deck cockpit enabling it to have a front loader would have been a great military transporter or of bulk item aircraft. I'm afraid that the A380 program will be remembered like the beloved Concord, both amazing engineering feat's despite them not being a commercial success. Maybe Airbus will read this and retrofit used A380's with a relocated flight deck and a front loader as its the only way for them to continue production. Airbus was a few decades too late with the A380 I'm sorry to say…

    • I doubt with A380 overhaul to front loading deck due additional costs to redesign airframe, certificates etc. B747 was designed for front loading at desk, A380 not.

  • Twin engined aircraft is the future. Efficiency plain and simple. We all love the four engine jets, but it just too expensive to fuel and maintain.

  • Do you know the specs of the A380 vc the B747-9? The 380 IS 46% larger than the 747 (in cubic space) but can take off with 25% more weight, which means that it would fly (by 747 standards) 80% full/ 80% of space used anyway you dice it, it comes out to an 80% plane!!!!!!!!!

  • I am flying KLM 747 combi to and from AMS via ORD for Christmas this year. I think they still have 8 or 12 in their fleet operating every day out of LAX, SFO,and ORD. They seem to be doing a good job for KLM.

  • The average, western human is getting fatter every day. So Airbus should just wait until the average human is so fat that 450 of today's 'regular' passengers will have the same weight as 350 2030's regular passengers. And the A380 can carry these fatties economically. 😉

  • It's failing but it has not failed. The freighter/Cargo version will eventually be a gamechanger and it's perfect for the Hub to Hub model with the larger airports handling it.

  • I mean, the general use for combis is for routes that can't maintain enough traffic to justify both a passenger and a cargo flight. I don't know how many airports that can handle the A380 are on those kind of routes to begin with.

  • Yes I think the A380 is worth saving because it's a magnificent and unique airplane and I think the combi version of the A380 can make the aircraft profitable so I vote to save the A380 project.

  • I don’t see why it cannot be successful as a military combi. Keep the entire top deck as is. Lower and Load the bottom with equipment. Never load the plane to it load capacity and negate the need for mid air refueling. The lighter weight will result in lower fuel burns and the ability to land on shorter, rougher, runways. What you people think?

  • It would make it more useful not more efficient. It would still have 4 engines and you’re using space for potential paying customers for cargo. Packages and luggage don’t pay airfares 😂😂

  • You forget to mention that Singapour’s first A 380´s. have been replaced by new A380’s …May be no so dead as it appears .!?

  • Let's not acknowledge the elephant in the room. Airbus never built the A380 with a freighter variant in mind. Boeing built the 747 originally as a cargo plane used to carry passengers until SST ruled the airways. Boeing has continued to design all its fleet with cargo in mind.
    The A380 doesn't have the integral strength to accept cargo on a freighter level. Also there is no structural support for cargo doors. The cockpit is right in the way of a main deck loading cargo hatch like the 747. Also the ability to lift heavy cargo with a base weight as the A380 has doesn't pencil in as efficient as any other freighter out there.
    As to a combi well the only really successful type was the 737 flying in Alaska where freight is king yes I know there have been lots of other variants and to a degree successful but nothing as the scale achieved in Alaska with the 737. This is due to the lack of roads. In other parts of the world there is always an over road/rail option.
    The A380 came too late for most airlines. 4 engines versus 2 equals more maintenance costs. Also the capacity of the A380 isn't staggeringly greater then the 777 or A330. The bottom line is cost per mile per seat. I think this was a plane 20 years to late and will fade away.

  • The full freighter version has already been dismissed and scrapped as an idea.

    As far as a combi version, the theory assumes that passenger airlines have excess cargo demand that they aren’t able to currently serve under deck or with dedicated freighters.

    Remember that passenger airlines with heavy cargo volumes often wet lease freighters from atlas air, cargo lux and other pure cargo carriers to meet heavy demand periods.

  • There is a huge reason that a Combi wouldn't work: the floors. You'd have to restress the floors to accept heavier loads. That would add weight which would reduce the efficiency of the aircraft. Also, as the aircraft currently stands you'd only be able to use it as a small packet freighter, so again, the heavier, weightier, more expensive loads would be outside of the plane's capacity without restressing the floors. Nope, its just not going to happen.

  • If the A380CF became a thing, that would be feasible for freight airlines like FedEx (one of the original launch customers and an investor in the program as many know). The combi would be doomed to fail from the start because of the equipment needed to load and unload it (another reason the 380F failed). Say Airbus did some modification and worked with airlines to create such a network for it then quite possibly the combi and conversion freighter would work.

  • I think its not going to continue to be built . But what could be done with the ones airlines are going to discontinue wile the plane is still fairly new , that's where I hope some inventive thinkers in the industry will come up with something to save them from being scrapped or stored forever . Your combi idea is a good one and perhaps it will be done on a used plane . Thank you !!

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