June, 6 2014

Airbus A380 lessor Amedeo is arguing against the potential reengining of the Airbus A380. “There is no case to be made for reengining with the current technology of engines,” Amedeo CEO Mark Lapidus says. Instead, Lapidus would like to see Airbus wait for the next generation of engine technology before moving to a new powerplant. He sees that technology nearing with the arrival of Rolls-Royce’s proposed ultrafan project, which includes geared turbofan technology. Lapidus also says that it would make sense to stretch the A380 in connection with the switch to a new engine.

Amedeo firmed up an order for 20 A380s earlier this year. Its current portfolio includes four A380s operated by Emirates. Lapidus said it has not yet placed any of the 20 additional aircraft, but is “working hard” on it. The first is arriving in late 2016 and the remainder will arrive at four to five aircraft per year.

Lapidus is skeptical about the reengining, because he expects fuel cost savings to be eaten up by higher weight and maintenance if currently available engines were taken. He argues that the difference between existing A380 engine technology and what would be available soon is not big enough. Lapidus does however believe that the concept will work on the A330because the original aircraft is much older generation.

Unlike Emirates President Tim Clark, Lapidus still sees potential in the proposed 11-abreast seating on the aircraft’s main deck. “At 11-abreast, the A380 will have 30% better cash operating costs than the Boeing 777-300ER,” he said. He believes that the aircraft will be able to retain a double-digit percentage advantage even when the 777X enters the market after the turn of the decade. “777-9X economics will work well at 10-abreast, but not as well as the A380.”

Lapidus sees great benefits in A380 cabin flexibility with airlines being able to configure the cabin in many different ways. “Premium economy is on the rise, product segmentation is changing,” he said.

Amedeo, could broaden its portfolio in the future to include other aircraft types beyond the A380. “We are currently focusing on getting the A380s placed, but we are also looking at other wide bodies,” Lapidus says. Sale and lease back deals for narrowbodies are also a possibility.

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