Germany's most respected broadsheet, the Frankfurt Allgemeine, today has an interesting article about the A380. Some of the main contents:
- The British CAA says that in 2016, one out of eight departures at Heathrow will be by A380s because of the increasing slot constraints at the airport.
- one of the biggest markets for the A380 will be the Asian-European market not only because of traffic volumes, but also because of the time-difference that has a heavy influence on what flights can sensibly be offered to the travelling public. There is only a very narrow time-window in which flights from Asia to Europe can depart: If they depart from Asia round midnight, they have an early morning arrival in Europe. If they depart later, it is too late a departure time for most passengers, if they depart earlier, the arrival in Europe is too early with regard to night curfews, onward connections etc. As an example, the article states that all four flights from HKG to LHR depart from HKG within 60 minutes and it would make much more sense to consolidate such services with a larger aircraft. The situation on the transatlantic market is totally different, hence resulting in the use of much smaller aircraft serving a more diverse route network at varying times of the day (i.e. a much smaller market for the A380 and more interesting for the Boeing 7E7 - to which Airbus reacts with the A350).
- an A380 only needs to sell 11% more seats than a Boeing 747 to break even and then has another 227 that can be sold as oure money-makers, 85% more than on a Boeing 747.
- as a result of the Airbus A380 launch, prices for 2nd hand Boeing 747-400 have taken a dive; this being the main reason for Cathay Pacific buying a number of used Boeing 747 airframes (CX has, the article says, cheap maintenance capacity that off-sets the higher mnx costs).
- Lufthansa was a major driving force behind the proposed Boeing 747 stretch as it wanted to benefit from fleet commonality at the upper end of its fleet. Only when Boeing refused to push the programme ahead, Lufthansa became interested in the Airbus A380. Lufthansa will be one of the airlines that will have a real need for A380 sized aircraft as it has a relatively large Asian network (see above) and is based at a seriously slot-constrained airport.
- backlog Airbus / Boeing:
in 01.1995: 615 vs. 1126
in 09.2004: 1408 vs. 1083
- orders at time of first flight:
Boeing 747-400: 165
Airbus 380-800: 139
- Airbus vs. Boeing forecast for VLA 2005-2025: 1.200 / less than 400