"One of the bedrock justifications for construction of the A380 has been the idea that major hubs either are, or will soon be, slot-constrained. This mantra has been repeated ad nauseum in many a.net threads. I believe this assumption needs further discussion and questioning."
"Since the vast majority of flights into the major hubs are feeder flights by smaller aircraft,one could also say that VLA aircraft tend to increase congestion "
Really? Can you support this statement? I suppose it depends on what you mean by "smaller aircraft" One major hub where this is definitely not true is HND
, where the vast bulk of traffic is O&D. If you mean single aisle, then I would suggest, (but only from personal observation, I have no empirical data either), that it is NOT true at NRT
and probably CDG
, at least.
"and that point-to-point (non-hub) flying is preferable for the traveler"
"and the carrier."
Disagree. It depends on a lot of variables of course, but it is not ALWAYS that what you say is true.
"London Heathrow is often cited. Why couldn't LHR
be restricted to twin-aisle operations, for example?"
If you limited this restriction to flights originating outside Europe, you may very well get away with it as it would not affect many flights BUT geographical limits are always difficult, eg when in the 60/70s the UK government tried to restrict "European flights" to LGW
and intercontinental flights to LHR
. The screams and moans were loud and long, Turkey, for example, threatening to break off diplomatic relations over the issue. It really came apart because it meant, after retaliatory action by other European governments, BEA would be restricted to LGW
and BOAC to LHR
, which of course would prevent any interchange.
"What do you think about the recent comments on this site www.boeing.com/randy/archives/2005/05/kangaroo_hop.html
NO credibility at all! Would say the same about report on the Airbus site favoring VLAs.
Your post seems to be saying that connecting traffic is the only justification for VLAs. This I strongly disagree with.
Two other reasons are:
1) City pairs where O&D traffic alone warrants VLAs eg and/or they are so far apart that frequency is not an issue, eg LHR
2) Parts of the world with isolated, but concentrated populations, eg the whole South Pacific region, where there will never be enough traffic to justify much p2p.
I think BOTH points of view are correct and will occur. Which, if either will dominate I do not know, but I do think the A380 will break even (300 or so) and almost certainly earn a real rate of return (500 or so, as per the Economist article) ASSUMING it meets or exceeds it performances specifications.