This year, there are 241 in-service A380 aircraft. By 2027, Aviation Week data forecasts 252 A380s will be in-service across the global fleet. Emirates is the largest operator of the superjumbo with 103 of the -800 variant currently in-service.
A Buoyant Aftermarket?
The aftermarket for the aircraft is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4%, according to forecast data. Many of the in-service aircraft have yet to undergo their first heavy checks and this is expected to pick up over the next decade to the tune of $1.8 billion in total.
Engines Will Lead The Way
The highest MRO spend will be on engine work, which will amount to $9.9 billion from 2018 to 2027. This represents 36% of the A380’s overall aftermarket cost of $28 billion.
Available engine options for the A380 include the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 and the Engine Alliance GP7000.
The Middle East: An A380 Hub
The Middle East region will be home to the most A380s in operation. By 2027 it will have 140 of the aircraft in service, more than double that of Asia-Pacific - which is second with 65 aircraft.
In November 2017, Singapore Airlines enlisted Airbus to retrofit the interiors of 14 of its older A380. The program will run until 2020 and will see the aircraft altered to a 471-seat configuration, up from its current setup of 441 seats.
End Of The Line For The A380 Program?
With production output reduced by Airbus, discussions have started about the long-term future of the aircraft.
A Teardown Option?
Discussions have started as to whether the aircraft will make for a viable teardown option. In November last year, Tarmac Aerosave received two of the aircraft from Singapore Airlines which went into storage at its facility in Tarbes, France. Germany-based lessor Dr. Peters confirmed in early June that it will send two of its A380 aircraft for teardown where they will be stripped and sold for parts.
Scepticism Over Teardowns Still Exists
Not all companies with part-out capabilities are sold on the aircraft however. Mike Cazaz, president and CEO of Werner Aero Services, remains unsure about the long-term viability of a secondary market for A380s due to two reasons. “First there are relatively few of these aircraft in-service. Second, it’s a market that when the aircraft comes out of its lease-term, it is very challenging to place back into service with another operator mainly due to the cost of refurbishing the aircraft,” he said.