Sadly I only have minor knowledge about the "physics" of air cargo by now, but here's my point of view:
- No nose-door = no long pieces. This IMO might keep the 747 line alive for a few more years, as it leaves the 747, and to a lesser extend the An-124, alone in this league.
-We have two MDs with different dimensions. It will be interesting to see how many different ULD contours the A380 will require. I hope it comes down to 8 or 9...then try to sell the "least wanted, complicated" contours to the forwarder.
-maneuvering a rather "outsized" piece of cargo into the upper Main Deck through a SCD, looks like a hell lot of fun as well and should also require a new generation of high-loaders (read additional costs).
-Calculating W&B. The A380, as far as I understand, is coming off the production line after a few weight problems. They seemed to have worked around it by now, but whatever they did will surely not simplify the calculation, as you have to pay attention to a lot of specs/issues.
- After you have done W&B, it's time to simply load that plane without letting it "sit down" on the tarmac. 3 decks of cargo don't make this very easy. And again...add in the weight problems that come along with the A380...
FedEx and UPS use standardized containers and "just throw" in the packages, so they don't have to worry about all the aspects. But both do, from time to time (more often than you would think), ship larger consignments, so I guess airbus and the cargo industry will closely monitor how they are handling the A380.
"I really don't know one plane from the other. To me they are just marginal costs with wings."Ã¯Â¿Â½ Alfred Kahn, 1977