News Dec 13, 2015 10:11 PM EST

Jumbo jets may be heading to extinction amid changes in regulations, business dynamics

By Staf Writer

After ruling the global aviation sector for over 40 years, the wide-body jumbo jets faces a threat of possible extinction.

The Boeing 747 wide-body, long-range jumbo jet faces stiff competition from Airbus A-380. Boeing sees a drop in orders for jumbo jets while Airbus has not received an order for the double-decker A-380 after the major order it won from Emirates Airlines. 

With a flying capacity of 500 passengers and 6,000 miles, jumbo jets have brought several revolutionary changes into the global aviation industry.

Since the introduction in 1969, jumbo jets Boeing 747 with lower seat cost of operations made several airlines profitable.

Boeing sold just 45 jumbos during the past eight years. Boeing has slashed down production of Boeing 747 to one aircraft a month.

Airbus also didn't get any order for A-380 double-decker aircraft after order from Emirates Airlines in the past two years. The main reason is that Airlines are keen on twin-engine mini-jumbos, which are energy efficient.

However, the advancement in turbofan engine technology, airline business strategies, and aviation regulations are creating an environment, in which there wouldn't be jumbo jets, reports Ready News.

The big Boeing has been the main long-range wide-body carrier by offerings from McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed and Airbus. Since its launch, Boeing jumbo jet for the first time faced a potential competitor inthe form of A-380 double-decker aircraft from Airbus. 

The aviation industry is still facing rough weather after the recession. Many airlines ran out of business as they were running on thin margins. Tim Clark, Chief Executive, Emirates Airlines, is a big fan of A 380 and has ordered for 140 of them. Clark said: "They are concerned about the price of this aeroplane, its operations and being able to fill the aeroplane."

Generally, airlines use smaller twin-engined airlines for shorter flights, Boeing jumbo jets with four engines for long-haul flights. Contrary to the notion that future would be for large planes with carrying capacity of over 500 passengers.

But, it changed now. Smaller twin-engined jets are not only fuel-efficient but also offer long-haul flight as well, according to a report published by BBC.

Aviation industry analysts feel that Airbus and Boeing are facing rough weather in finding potential buyers for their aircraft. These wide body and long-haul aircraft cost high and at the same time they're energy inefficient. 

As per a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), jumbo jets Boeing 747 and Airbus A 380 have their own place in the aviation industry. Cheaper and fuel-efficient small jets do have their own advantages. 
With engine technology advancement, airlines are shying away from 'hub and spokes' model.

The new technology enables aircraft to fly long distances with just two engines. The changes in aviation regulation are also causing business dynamics varies with the technology advancement. 

Boeing 747 jumbo jets or aircraft with three or four engines are still covering long-distance and transoceanic flights. Earlier, the preference used to go for more engines as the safety is much more in number.

But the latest turbofan engine technology has changed this though a process for aligning for more engines for safety parameter. 

Turbofan engines are reliable and failures far less. Moreover, two engine mini-jumbos are more fuel efficient as well. Airlines are operating on a hub and spoke model by pooling a large number of passengers to be routed through a single mega-hub.

Now, fuel-efficient small jets such as Boeing 787 Dreamliner carry passengers point-to-point service on non-stop flying without transiting through a hub. 

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