I just don't know if the A380 will succeed or fail. I must admit that I always, and still do feel it as a fantastic aircraft. When it comes to aircraft, I have an typical American attitude: BIG IS BETTER!! But off course this is no warrant whatsoever that it will be successful...
Some remarks and thoughts I have:
List price A380.
The article list the A380 at $ 130M. This can not be true! The list price of a 773 is close to $170M. A couple of years ago when Boeing was trying to launch the 747-500/600, it was rumoured that its list price would be well over $200M. In fact this was an important reason why it didn't make it [too expensive!!]. At the same time Airbus was announcing that the A3XX would sell for under $200M. I believe [correct me if I'm wrong] that the A380-800 list price is somewhere around $220M, but reportedly Airbus sold the first 100 with up to 40% discount [which is not unusual at all for launching a new aircraft program].
I agree that frequencies are king. However I'm not sure if it's really that important to most pax if a 10 hr transatlantic flight is flown two or three times daily. As long as he or she can choose what day he or she is flying, I would think that is sufficient choice frequency wise. I mean, for 1-3 hr flights frequencies do matter, but the longer the flight, the less important frequencies are, as long as it is at least a daily flight. On the other hand, more daily frequencies will mean that more daily banks are fed at the hub airport, increasing the appeal of the hub, and increasing efficiency of the hub. So I'm not sure how important frequencies are for long haul flights, but certainly not as important as on the short haul flights!
One daily A380-800 has approx the same capacity as two daily 777s. But the cost for double daily 777 would be 25-40% higher than a single daily A380 [according to Airbus]. Not sure your average Joe is prepared to pay the premium for the extra frequency choice. Furthermore, again according to Airbus claims, the 380 will provide 15-20% more space per pax compared to the current generation aircraft [744/767/777/330/340]. So flying the A380 is not only cheaper, but also more spacious/luxurious [not taking into account unrealistically wild ideas like bars, gyms etc.]. This may become a very valuable selling point keeping DVT discussion in mind.
Airport modification cost.
The airports that face the highest modification costs to accommodate the A380 generally speaking were long due for refurbishment/upgrade anyway. LAX is a prime example. Even without the A380 an really extensive refurbishment of the runway/taxiway layout - and to a lesser degree the [international] terminals - was already long overdue. So the real question is what are the EXTRA cost to modify it to group F [80x80x80: A380,745,746] standard. If I understand correctly, even today LAX faces lots of challenges to get the multiple daily 747s around. Runway-taxiway-taxiway separation is insufficient for multiple 747 operations simultaneously due to insufficient clearance between taxiways. Also unpowered taxi-in and push back/taxi-out operations are required due to limited taxiway clearance to the terminals. So upgrading to full 747 standard was already anticipated. When doing this upgrade, the EXTRA cost to accommodate the group F aircraft would not be a big deal. Anyway, eventually the large group F aircraft will come to LAX if its not for the A380 by 2006.
Just out of curiosity, why didn't we hear any discussions on airport modifications costs when Boeing was on the verge of launching the 747-500/600 a couple of years ago. The footprint of these stretched 747 are even larger than the A380-800!
Just my two Eurocents [being a European, my opinions are off course totally unbiased whatsoever...NOT!!
Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"