I'll second that, I can't see BA replacing a 744 with a 744. If Boeing gung-ho's it on a 747-Adv, which I am convinced they should, then BA would be an airline I would consider of strategic priority. If not, then the A380 would be in like flint.
Boeing doesn't necessarily need to match the A380, but incorperating the 7E7s systems alone would go a long way. Maybe a combo 7E7/747-Adv powered by Trent 1000s?
As everyone knows, the 747 Adv has been offered on and off by Boeing for just about the last 10 years. It is still quite a mystery, however, as to why Boeing haven't offered it. There are just a whole list of airlines out there (including the one I fly for) that would chomp at the bit at the prospect of a 747NG, if you don't mind that nomenclature.
However, after throwing around several projects during that time, including the sonic cruiser, Boeing settled on the 7E7 as their focus of development. After such a long period of fiscal problems, it is highly unlikely that Boeing will be able to carry two major projects at the same time. As we have discussed in another thread DFW
(or as you have yourself indicated), incorporating 7E7 type technology in an old airframe is not a minor achievement (especially one as old as the 747), but a major engineering challenge. So if you want to see Trent 1000's on a 747, you're probably looking at least the middle of the next decade before anything happens, i.e. 2015.
So inbetween that time, with airlines such as BA
waiting for a 747 replacement, the A380 is definitely an option in this delicate chess game. The 747-400ER definitely does not cut it, and the few orders it has attracted shows. It still sucks gas like a pig, and the 777-300/300ER is cutting close onto it's territory sucking somewhere like 1/4 less gas per flight.
Rod Eddington, esq, is not necessarily the smartest tool in the shed himself. But with a plane like the A380, it's definitely smart to wait for it's in service performance figures before deciding how much to extort Airbus for one. Meeting initial performance criteria is certainly not Airbus' forte, so it remains to be seen what sort of performance penalties can be expected. Range not so much a requirement when it comes to the 380 (you pretty much know what trunk routes they will serve), but payload and fuel consumption is. Not to mention reliability issues, imagine the IFE nightmares on a double decker airplane.