I shamefully neglected at the time I posted this to mention my unbridled admiration for the sheer fiscal efficiency of this program. $10.7 billion USD (sorry Eurofans, I only get my numbers in dollars; feel free to throw in Euros figures) is an amazingly small total for a program of such a huge scale. Many predicted a program cost of $12-15 billion USD for such a venture. I think that spending a fair number of years defining the A3XX prior to the December, 2000 program launch paid off handsomely for Airbus. Now, I assume whatever money was spent prior to the launch likely isn't included in the $10.7 billion tally so it may be closer to a $12 billion program but still, the fiscal responsibility in this program is admirable. Some of my occasional airplane 'chat' buddies are disappointed there isn't a bigger proportion of composites in A380 construction but I say Airbus is absolutely making the right move here, using only the amount needed to meet their weight targets and not going too far out on a limb with it, given the unprecendented size and weight. Staying with proven alloys wherever possible is the responsible move, to minimize risk and maximize chances of success. Although I don't consider the A380 (or the 7E7, for that matter) a truly revolutionary airplane, it is nevertheless an exceedingly important airplane, one which sets new design and manufacturing standards that I hope Boeing will emulate as it embarks on the equally important 7E7 effort. The European community is well-justified in having a high sense of multi-national pride in the A380. Looks to be a winner!