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June 15, 2010

Airbus worth the fuss?

Filed under: Airbus — aerotowfeeq @ 4:35 pm
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It barely made headlines in the popular press, but the decision by Emirates Airlines of Dubai to increase its order for the Airbus A380 super-jumbo to 90 planes sent a ripple around the airline world last week.Emirates has only 10 of the 500-seaters at the moment but, by the end of this decade, it will have a bigger fleet of the giants than any airline’s Boeing 747 jumbo fleet, past or present.And Emirates says it’s interested in even more, particularly if the manufacturer decides to go ahead and produce a stretched version that, in a one-class configuration, could notionally seat nearly 1000 people.The A380 has become the height of fashion for airline passengers. Because it’s an all-new design, it’s very quiet inside and quiet on the outside as well, for an airliner of its size.But the airlines that operate it are finding its appeal to passengers is more than skin-deep: people will actually pay more to fly in the big bird.

Qantas is aggressively rolling out the A380 on its London and Los Angeles routes as they arrive from the factory in Toulouse, France.

It has six in operation at the moment and will have 10 by next March, when one its daily Melbourne-London services as well all but one day’s seven weekly Melbourne-Los Angeles flights will be on the A380. That will be in addition to a daily Sydney-London and a daily Sydney-Los Angeles.When Singapore Airlines this year began flying the A380 on one of its two daily services from Singapore to Tokyo, it sent Japan’s main airlines, JAL and All Nippon, into a tizz because they hadn’t ordered the A380 and were worried about their customers changing brands to fly on the Singapore Airlines A380.

Lufthansa has also begun flying its first A380 from Frankfurt, Germany, to Tokyo and says the service is virtually booked out for the next three months such is the popularity of the plane.

Ironically, the super-jumbo, with only about 230 orders, still hasn’t broken even on the billion it cost to design it and may go down in history as a financial white elephant unless its order book gets to around 400 aircraft.

Have you had a ride on the A380? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Most importantly, is it worth paying the extra money that some airlines are charging for a ride on the super-jumbo?

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