As you might be aware of, in 2021 Airbus will cease production of the A380. Although this super jet is very popular among passengers, for its high comfort standards, the airlines did not show as much love towards it.
Only a handful of airlines operate the biggest airliner in the world. Orders already since some time have started to run low. In many cases orders were converted to orders for smaller more fuel efficient planes. Such as the Airbus A350. But is there more than what hits the eye to the downfall of the giant of sky?
The travel paradigm is shifting
The survival of the A380 was deeply intertwined with the predominance of the hub and spoke air travel model. But with the rise of the latest generation of fuel efficient ultra long range aircrafts, such as the A350 and the 787, things are changing.
These new aircrafts are transforming once unprofitable routes to money makers. Their lower capacity makes it possible to cover even routes where demand isn’t extremely high. And their fuel efficiency makes these routes profitable.
This effectively means that the air travel world is shifting more and more to a point to point paradigm. Just imagine what a big impact this shift can have on a flight such as one connecting Helsinki (Finland) with Havana (Cuba). It can be the difference between a money-making route and a route destined to fail.
What is the difference between hub and spoke and point to point?
Hub and spoke is that system where big airliners like the A380 or 747s would fly into big hubs to then feed off passengers to regional flights on smaller aircrafts. This is very common in the US where major airlines fly passengers into their main hubs ago then connect them to secondary airports.
Point to point is where the airlines fly the passengers directly into the final destination airport. Which could also be a secondary airport not necessarily a hub. Using this system airlines can bypass the larger airports avoiding extra charges and limitations. To do so the aircraft that operates the route must be cheap to fly and capable of landing in smaller airports.
An example of this could be the flight we mentioned earlier between Helsinki and Busan. That Finnair will be starting in early 2020. The airline can serve the second largest city in Korea bypassing the Incheon/Seoul hub.
This provides a more convenient connection for passengers shortening their journey. And a more profitable operation for the airline that can cut the cost of passing through Incheon while flying a fuel efficient aircraft.
What does this mean for the average traveler?
It means that we’ll probably see more and more long range flights, even between secondary airports. Which could be something much sprechiate d by passengers around the world. On the other hand if you are a jumbo lover, 747 or A380, get used to seeing less and less soar in the sky.
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