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What if "What if?" is the right question?

Tags: Belly   Air Cargo   Capacity   What if?

Oliver Evans on Wednesday, January 08, 2014 2:20 PM


A few weeks ago Emirates, in a move to replace older aircraft and further boost capacity, said it will purchase an additional 50 Airbus 380 – and a thought struck me:
What if, in the giant battle for the passenger aircraft market between Airbus and Boeing, the A 380 had actually come out on top?
Maybe we would never have seen the very trend that currently haunts our industry, namely the advent of literally hundreds of B777 and A 350, both aircraft types with abundant belly cargo space. These planes add capacity into a market that is simply growing too slowly to make use of it, thus sending load factors and rates downwards in a vicious cycle.

The A 380 on the other hand, comes with very limited cargo capacity while transporting loads of passengers. The effect, at least on the routes flown by this massive aircraft  is easy to forecast: the airline operating the aircraft soon finds available belly capacity too limited, and starts planning to deploy  freighters on the concerned routes.
Now, wouldn´t that be a fine surprise?

Just one little "what if" demonstrates, how very different our current situation might have turned out, and how very close the "what is" lies to the "what could have been."

As we can only look into our own airline’s kitchen, we can only monitor the declared orders of the big 2 manufacturers and take a guess at which aircraft type will come out on top in the longer term, in other words how much belly cargo capacity will be deployed. But what we can and definitely should do, is to ask that seemingly irrelevant question much more often: “What if?”

Why?
Wrong question. We should ask ourselves:
What if we don´t?

Thank you for tuning in.

Oliver


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