I don’t want to get into an endless off topic discussion, but there are some points to add.
1. Inter-national doesn’t not only mean ‘distance’. It means exchange between different nations and cultures, no matter if they are one hour or ten hours away.
Apart from that LH, AF and BA are the most international carriers because they are just present all over the world. If you want to you can even leave out the EU for them, which is comparable to the US in size and population. LH, AF and BA would even be the most international carriers then since they are just present in uncountable countries, at almost every continent (minus Australia for LH and AF).
I doubt that Continental is very well know in most of Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe or Africa.
2. Innovations of the A380. The size of the aircraft alone requires many new innovations and ideas, otherwise the aircraft could never be operated economically. One aspect is weight. Carbon fiber will be used to an extent as never before, many major parts will be completely made out of it, such as the aft fuselage section, the central cerosine tank and the vertical stabilizer. For the layer of the fuselage, Airbus will use GLARE, a new material made partly of aluminium and glass fibre which helps to save large amounts of weight, without losing the stability of aluminium. Another innovation is the hydraulics system which will operate at a much higher pressure (5000 psi) than current systems. The advantage is less space and therefore less weight.
As far as the cockpit is concerned, the A380 will be the first aircraft ‘without paper’, OIS – Onboard Information System - will ensure paperless work for the pilots. ADRES – Aircraft Documentation Retrieval System - a kind of electronic library will inform about technical details on any possible level of the aircraft and can help to assist the pilots in solving problems. ECAM – Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring - will permanently supervise the aircraft’s systems and even provide links with technical support on the ground. ECAM will merge all the functions of current different systems, such as AMM (Aircraft Maintenance Manual, FOM (Flight Operation Manual) and POM (Pilot Operational Manual).
Another feature will be ESU – Ethernet Switch Unit – which will provide information like navigation maps and routing details without having to use the aircraft’s own systems.
At the end, we shouldn’t forget Airbus’ development of a completely new cabin with many new feature for the passengers.
The A300 and A320 were new designs and truly innovative aircraft – the A380 will be a new design as well, however, in terms of technical innovations it will outscore its predecessors.
If some people like it or not, the aircraft will cause attention for sure. And Airbus and the airlines will do anything to even increase these attention by uncountable marketing efforts. Have some guys forgotten what kind of attention (with success) Virgin Atlantic has always caused in the UK? You can be sure the new flagship of the world will make many airline CEOs jealous…and Gordon is only one of them.
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