Airbus: The Next Generation Superjumbo - Part 2

| About: Airbus SE (EADSF)
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Summary

New engines can decrease specific fuel consumption by 6%.

Combination of winglets, engines and extra seats is required.

Emirates wish certainly can be met.

In my previous article I looked whether winglets would give the Airbus (OTCPK:EADSF/OTCPK:EADSY) A380 the efficiency Emirates is looking for. I concluded that winglets only do not do the trick for the Airbus A380.

Figure 7: Current fuel consumption for Emirates (according to the model) and Emirates desired fuel efficiency (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)

In this article I will look at how efficiency increases on the propulsion system affects the overall efficiency of the Airbus A380.

Since this study is quite extensive it has been split into 3 articles:

In Part 1, I looked at the desired fuel burn reduction and the effect of winglets.

In Part 2, I will look at the use of new engines, combined with winglets and more seats.

In Part 3, I will look at the cheapest solution, feasibility of an A380neo and the effect the A380neo might have on the Airbus order book

Engines (Trent 1000-TEN)

One of the parts most of the aircraft's efficiency depends on is the propulsion system, it is also in this area where the A380 is lacking some efficiency.

Given the high development costs and the limited market it is unlikely that there will be a complete new engine for the Airbus A380. Additionally the development of a new engine would push an Airbus A380neo further in time.

One of the options is to incrementally improve the efficiency of the engines. This method however is too slow as it would take years to make the engine more efficient. By 2020, the engine can only be made 2-3% more efficient.

Therefore it is better to use an existing engine. A good candidate would be the Rolls Royce Trent 1000-TEN, which is said to be 3% more efficient than the Trent 1000 (Package B). Compared to the Engine Alliance engine on service entry this means a reduction in specific fuel consumption of 5.7%.

Weight: -1%

New specific fuel consumption (SFC): -5.7%

Figure 8: Current fuel consumption for the A380, re-engined version and aim (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)

The addition of more fuel efficient engines can be summarized as follows:

Figure 9: Effect on weight, aerodynamic and propulsive efficiency and fuel burn per seat due to use of more efficient engines (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)

As can be seen the re-engined version of the A380 already seems to be able to provide 6.4% out of the 10% fuel improvement that Emirates is looking for.

This leaves a couple of options to obtain the 10% reduction in fuel burn per seat:

  1. Combine winglets with new engines
  2. Combine winglets with increase in seats
  3. Combine new engines with increase in seats
  4. Combine winglets, engines and increase in seats

The best option seems to be the combination of winglets and engines and increase the number of seats if needed.

Combination of winglets with new engines

Figure 10: Current fuel consumption for the A380, re-engined version with winglets and aim (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)

As can be seen in the figure an A380 with winglets and new engines increases the fuel efficiency very close to the number Emirates is aiming for with a reduction in fuel burn per seat of 9.1% for a 6000 nm trip.

The combination of winglets and new engines can be summarized as follows:

Figure 11: Effect on weight, aerodynamic and propulsive efficiency and fuel burn per seat due to use of more efficient engines and winglets (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)

For 2500-4500 nm trips the requirement is not yet met either, hence an increase in seats is required.

Combination of winglets with new engines and more seats

For now I am assuming that the addition of seats does not require any more lavatories and galleys than already present on the current Airbus A380, hence the only increase in operational empty weight are the weight of the seats added and extra overhead storage required. For now I am going to assume that 50 kg per extra seat should be added. Additionally all seats will be added in economy class.

It takes 7 extra revenue generating seats to meet the requirement for a 6000 nm trip, while it takes 24 seats to be added to meet the requirement for shorter trips.

Added weight: 0% (with respect to the current A380) and +0.4% (with respect to the re-engined version of the A380 with winglets)

Number of seats: 541 (+24)

This yields the following graph:

Figure 12: Current fuel consumption for the A380, re-engined version with winglets and aim (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)

Figure 13: Effect on weight, aerodynamic and propulsive efficiency, capacity and fuel burn per seat due to use of more efficient engines, winglets and increase in seats (Source: Dhierin-Perkash Bechai)

As can be seen the reduction in fuel burn that Emirates is looking for is achievable.

In my next article I will look at other options and draw a final conclusion on how credible it is to expect an A380neo that will satisfy the needs of Emirates.

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