: >>"I think Boeing's vagueness about the future of the B747 is very calculated and deliberate.
It could be a bluff, on the other hand, I donno 'bout A350.
>>"In the next two years or so, the A380's real performance will be known variables. Once they figure out mission profiles in which the A380 shows vulnerability to airplanes with fewer seats, Boeing can (and I think will) re-design the B747 to knock out the lower end of A380 market. There is no reason to act before the A380 racks up some service hours.
Does the phrase "long-term" mean anything to you? A380 was NOT designed to combat capacity issues in short term; it WILL have empty seats on certain routes. That cannot be concluded as overkill because this plane is designed to occupy capacity aims for the next 20 YEARS, maybe longer. Boeing's current management (not whomever ran the company 40 years ago) is not interested is that kind of commitment, too risky. Look at 7E7, its entire program is less than a decade before the first plane goes into service; the shorter the better for them or for anyone technically who looks for a quick fix.
>>"A lot of people like to point to the B747's age as evidence of the design's obsolescence.
Then those people are idiots looking to scapegoat. The issue is rate of capacity in certain markets, there are many ways to combat this; Airbus choose theirs and Boeing choose another, there is no competition.
>>"While certain technologies and design features are surely out -of-date, the design is fundamentally sound, reliable, and profitable for [current] operators.
Note what I added to make your statement true, you have to take time into consideration, lots of it; life is never constant -- expect change.
>>"Why substantially change something that has worked so well for so long and promises to keep doing so?
Worked for so long? Therefore, the future is just like the past. Moreover, what promises to keep doing so, the product or the market? Markets are supposed to run companies, not the other way around and since the market is getting bigger faster, after a while (few decades) it is simply not worth the money.
That is why those whom have made purchases of A380's have done, so they won't have to make purchases and agree to little upgrades every so often like a costly version of Microsoft's Windows XP
updates. Carriers can use that space anyway; they please up until they need it for capacity some time in the next decade instead of buying it every damned time. Many people will fly; just because the current 2005 numbers are not big enough does not mean it will stay that way long enough for the 747 to "keep doing so".
Even I realize that an even larger capacity airplane will have to replace A380 sometime between 2020 and 2030, but I am not going to gripe that it will never happen because history told me it happened twice before. On the other hand, keep this in mind, the creators of the 747 thought that the world would be filled with supersonics and those who did not fly them would take the 747's economical style. I am willing to bet an SST variant unlike we have ever seen will exist by that time because size of plane will be an issue with increasingly growing markets. I, in a way, do not think the A380 will be replaced.
I am also betting that the SST will be an American product. Boeing owned the 1960's to the 1990’s; Airbus took over the 90's and so far the early 2000's. I think Airbus will keep it despite the 7E7's progress up until about 2018, by the then current management of Boeing would have learned the mistakes of the early 2000 Boeing and have aim at replacing size with speed and take back the market by 2025.
On the other hand, it may not be Boeing that does it, who knows.
That is what I think.
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.