Ok, the subject must have been discussed a thousand times, but with sales and advertising for both aircraft now solidly started, I thought an update could be interesting.
At least I am interested.
Could it be possible that both Airbus and Boeing have it right with respectively the 380 and the 787? Would these two planes complement each other?
I think so, and here are the reasons why. The A380 seems to fit into the hub and spokes schemes most major airlines favor at the moment. It would logically operate the "hub-to-hub" legs of trips, allowing current airports to cope with saturation/slots constraints issues a bit more easily (although gate congestion might quickly become an problem with 600 pax boarding/deboarding at once). Where we currently operate 744, 773 or 346, a 389 would offer some 30% increase in capacity.
But at the current rate of things, major hubs will reach congestion point not too far down the road. And there come into action second rank airports, international platforms that do not support giants like AA, JL, LH, AF/KLM, etc., but can accomodate more traffic. FRA, LHR, NRT, LAX are on the verge of saturation where perhaps airports like MUC, BCN, DEN, KIX, BHX, DUS, etc. could allocate a few more slots and gates to airlines. Perhaps the idea of point-to-point flights would come in handy at that stage. STL-BRU, BWI-MXP, ITM-YVR, etc. could support mid-size widebodies like the 788-789, but maybe not the larger airliners. There may very well be enough demand on these routes to make direct flights viable some 10 years down the road. Simply because there might not be room for more STL-ORD-LHR-BRU trips anymore.
Just a few thoughts. Both manufacturers could help deal with congestion (which is one of the biggest time bombs at the moment for the industry) with different but complementary approaches.
What are your thoughts?