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monsoon

Airbus A380

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The Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger airliner, is facing delays due to technical problems and corruption in the upper management of the company responsible for its development. This plane has been derided in some circles as the "Whalebus" as being the wrong plane at the wrong time and only serves the purpose of bragging rights for Airbus to say it has a plane larger than the Boeing 747.

While the A380 certainly does have its supporters, I suspect the real battle in international airline travel will be with smaller more fuel efficient vehicles such as the Boeing 787.

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I don't think the A380 will be much of a hit in the domestic market, seeing how almost all domestic airports don't have the runway length and the gate space. It could become a good cargo transpot plane in the future.

I only know of a few airports that are equipped for the A380, Dubai International Airport, New York JFK, and London Heathrow. It could possibly become popular in the international markets. Emirates Airlines has made an order for several A380's.

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Planes in that class typically don't operate at most airports anyway, and they are too ineffecient for more local flights. I think it could eventually replace the 747 as the predominant long-range, international and intercontinental passenger plane, but I do hope Boeing answers it in some way, even if it's "just" an improved 747. It would be a shame to fall behind to the French in aircraft design.

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Boeing's answer to the A380 is that the plane will not be an economic success. There is a lot of hype for it, but the reality is that beyond a few long haul routes, there is not need for this plane. The industry is moving towards smaller planes that can make transatlantic journeys as they offer more flexibility for the Airlines.

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It's my understanding that not only will airports have to build special gates to handle the A380, they will also have to reinforce the runways to handle the planes.

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Never have two planes generated so much battling back and forth.

I don't think that the 380 OR the 787 will win - I don't think they are really competing against each other!

The 380 is a huge aircraft. It is not meant to sell in huge qunatities or work for every route. Like the 747, it is meant for the longest, highes load routes. There is a lot of savings to be gained IF you have the passenger load AND you have the range. The 380 is the next step to the 747 - it's not going to become profitable overnight, but by virtue of being so huge is also likely to be around for a long, long time.

The 787 is the more common airframe, and will sell in quantities much greater than the 380. But it will likely be succeeded in the market by newer planes much sooner. IT hits a different market - thinner routes, longer than the 777 but not as much as the 380. Right now Boeing already has a contender in the heavy market - the 747. Even though it is old, it's paid itself off, so now they just have to cover the cost of building. Eventually Airbus will have to come out with something to compete with the 787, just as, eventually, Boeing will need a plane for really heavy routes.

Eventually, they will. But now, just let them build what they need, first.

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The first revenue-producing commercial flight of the A380 took place last week between Sydney and Singapore. The "age" of the superjumbo has officially begun.

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I wonder how they plan to make money off of these things. Granted, there's a lot of room into which many more seats can be crammed. The plans for luxury suites etc. are nice, but one wonders whether these will simply be doled out as upgrades for premium passengers. I envision an even more extreme version of Upstairs/Downstairs here. Perhaps the market for $15,000.00 seats is larger than I'd thought. Unless I managed somehow to get into one of the better cabins, I doubt this would be a terrific experience. The airline used would also make a big difference. I'd trust Singapore Airlines to make the experience right before I'd take one of these on, say, Delta. Have any U.S. airlines ordered these yet? I hadn't thought so.

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Different airlines have different strategies. The luxury suites and such are primarily used by Eastern markets or BA, which is trying to build that route. There there is enough of an income gap that you have the super rich able to afford such luxuries. Expect the more common airlines to be filling those planes up with seats. But also keep in mind the operating numbers of the A380 are expected to be lower in many cases than the 747 for long distance routes. This plane is designed for round the world flights, not hoping between Chicago and Miami.

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I still think it is rather too big to gain widespread commercial acceptance. I hadn't supposed that it would be used for U.S. domestic routes anyway. Perhaps it will gain commercial success, but I suspect that the airlines will cram lots of seats in there to make it more viable. I know that Emirates and Singapore Airlines have both placed significant orders for the plane. It's possible that these carriers may have more use for them. They will certainly have a larger share of the top end of the market.

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