This is a very bold prediction by Mark Lapidus, the chief executive officer of aircraft leasing company Amedeo. According to him, the Delta Air Lines (DAL) will be the first to fly the A380.
Despite the fact that Delta executives have said repeatedly that they don’t want the plane, Mark Lapidus’ deep financial interest may make his prediction come true. Amedeo has four of the jets arriving in 2016, and sixteen more arriving in the following four years.
U.S. carriers contend that the A380 is too big for their networks – it is a twin-deck jet with a capacity of 600 people. They say that their networks mainly serve business markets that match seats tightly with demand. This is a strategy of creating scarcity so as to make high profits.
This has really worked for the U.S. airlines. They are now the most profitable in the world. Lapidus admits that they all have reasons against the A380, and this is a big challenge, but he is ready to try. He is on a mission to find new customers in North America for the commercial jet which is the largest in the world.
Airbus already has 324 orders for the jet, most of which will be going to Emirates.
Lapidus hopes that Delta may yield since it has a record of trying models that its rivals usually avoid and finds a successful niche for them. He cites the case in which Delta decided to replace many of its 50-seat jets with 110-seat Boeing 717s which in turn boosted its capacity without requiring larger planes. The Being offers 120 percent more seats at only 60 percent increase in cost. It is also passenger-friendly and spacious.
Lapidus says that the logical stage that Delta used in making the decision to go for Boeing 717s is the same thing he would have used in advocating for the A380 jet.
As of now, Delta has not shown much interest in the A380. It has only requested proposals from Boeing and Airbus for a large fleet of old 767s and about 50 jets to replace its four-engine Boeing 747s. A380 is not part of these proposals. Last week, two of the Delta executives said in different events that the A380 does not fit their needs.
The Delta spokesman, Michael Thomas had also said in June that they see a lot of efficiency in twin-engine aircraft which form the bulk of their fleet and the A380 does not fit into that scope.
Lapidus hopes for a meeting in Atlanta with Delta executives to tout the A380. He believes that this jet would fit their Heathrow services.
Delta operates Heathrow services jointly with Virgin Atlantic Airways where it owns 49 percent.
Virgin Atlantic has orders for six A380s expected to begin arriving in 2018. It is not clear whether Virgin Atlantic is still interested in the planes since it has deferred many times. . “I think Delta, for all of their rhetoric about four-engine planes is going to look at it intelligently,” Lapidus said.