Here is a copy of the email I sent him. It is long winded but I think I stated the case for the A380 in a well thought out answer. No I'm not a blind Airbus supporter but I HAD TO
comment on his uninformed statement:
Your argument against the A380 is inherently flawed. According to Airbus the cost per passenger to operate the aircraft will be approximately 20% lower than its closest competitor the 747-400. The other environmental advantage is that the actual perishables (i.e. limited lifetime parts) that are used in maintenance of one aircraft are lower than spreading more copies of the part amongst several smaller aircraft. As fossil fuels are depleted turbines can easily be modified to use bio-diesel with minor range penalties. As far as “legacy carriers” being destroyed by low cost carriers all over the world you are sadly mistaken. The profitable low cost carriers around the world specialize in niche markets such as ultra short hall such as Southwest here in the U.S. or on longer hall routes that were the duopolies of the flag carriers such as London-New York. Virgin Atlantic is an obvious example of this. Virgin has a relatively large order for the A380! Many a market share will be fought over by the surviving airlines that outlive the bankrupt carriers. This can be witnessed by Southwest, jetBlue amongst others circling and actively going after market share of US Airways which is just about the sickest airline here in the U.S.
Germany and other EU countries are trying to pass “pollution taxes” on short hall carriers that compete against the train lines that are inherently less destructive to environment. One way that the airline would get around the pollution penalty would be to fly larger aircraft as the taxes are currently thought to be based pollution per passenger which is lower with larger aircraft. Would you rather have airports grow larger and larger and pave over more land to handle more aircraft movements or have comparatively minor changes to taxi ways and boarding areas? Markets such as Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Chicago and Los Angeles are at capacity. Chicago, Tokyo and London are investigating new airports. Would you have islands leveled or dredged out of the ocean to get more capacity as was done in Osaka and Hong Kong?
As far as the “lumpen-workers” Airbus is a shining example of international co-operation and the destruction of nationalism based competition on the European continent. The Airbus Experiment has created a huge amount of well paying technical jobs that has spread wealth across of what was once a fractured competitive market based on out moded paradigms of nation states in Europe.
I am (by United States standards) a hard core Socialist and tree hugging environmentalist. I am also a realist. Many airline analysts and Airbus, Boeing, Embraer et al are all forecasting double digit growth. Obviously the manufacturers are going to be overly optimistic but it isn’t rocket science to see the trends of air travel growth. The 747 democratized air travel by lowering the cost of travel for the masses. I’m a happy example of that as I live in Chicago and my mother’s side of the family live outside of Frankfurt Germany and I visit at least once every year or so.
The modifications needed to make the industry less environmentally destructive and fuel efficient are constantly being worked on by the manufacturers as fuel efficiency equals profitability for the airline customer whom Boeing and Airbus are at each other’s throats to prove savings of fractions per flight.
Finally I find your tone arrogant and elitist. I do believe new ideas come from the cultural elite of any society. We need thinkers and visionaries. You have not proven that you are either but just a reactionary without all the facts to back up your diatribes.
On a more light hearted aside the A380 isn’t exactly pretty but remember it was designed to move as many passengers as efficiently as possible!