Is an All-A380 Airline Coming?

Nov 29, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The A380 is a unique aircraft with a unique set of challenges, and the entire program’s existence is possibly depending on Emirates. Now, an aircraft leasing company with an inventory full of the super jumbos is trying to combat those issues by creating its own airline because it can’t find anyone else to lease the aircraft to.

Amedeo, an Ireland-based aircraft leasing company, is attempting to create its own airline, but with the intent of only operating A380s. It would be the only airline of its kind. The company currently owns eight A380s and has another 20 on order from Airbus, but is having trouble with its current business model. No airlines wanted to renew their leases with Amedeo or become new customers for the biggest passenger jet in the sky.

According to Amedeo’s CEO Mark Lapidus, the new airline would make money in two ways. First it would operate, staff and fly the aircraft for airlines (most likely for budget carriers) who might need it on certain routes  — this would be a so-called wet lease arrangement, with an airline using the Amedeo A380s when needed. Many consumers are used to buying a ticket through one carrier but flying on another.

Secondly, it would approach non-traditional travel companies like Airbnb and offer them the potential to have their own airline without having to build an actual airline from the ground up. It would tailor service to whatever the company wanted while actually doing the flying and staffing itself. Lapidus said Amedeo is already in early discussions with Airbnb and other “non-aviation firms.”

However, some aviation experts doubt the viability of an entirely A380 airline. Dr. Alan R. Bender, a professor of aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, told TPG that he’d “put good money on this concept being a major-league bust.”  Bender cited the faults of the A380 — being too big, very expensive to operate and unable to fly out of a vast majority of airports — as being the reason a business model like Amedeo’s couldn’t succeed.

Bender added that similar 747-only airlines like New York-based Tower Air have been “spectacular flops,” and that’s with the 747 being “far more practical than the A380.”

Amedeo would also look at operating flights for low-cost carriers like Level, Norwegian and WOW. Configuring the A380 with only economy seats is what Lapidus thinks could disrupt the industry enough to make its business successful. Bender counters that being disruptive doesn’t always lead to success.

Currently, Amedeo’s A380s are all leased to Emirates, and the lessor plans on selling off its remaining 777s, A340s and A320s to pursue an exclusively A380 fleet. According to AirlineGeeks, Lapidus hopes to launch the new airline by 2022.

The A380 program is struggling — especially with Emirates backtracking on a large order and Singapore returning the first A380 that flew commercially. Nonetheless, Airbus hopes to revive its superjumbo program with a newer, more fuel efficient A380plus, which however has not been formally launched nor has at this point elicited open interest from potential customers. 

Featured image by Airbus.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.