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A380 US Launch

Fri May 04, 2001 10:35 pm

Any thoughts on who will be the first US Carrier to sign on with the A380?

Will this thing even sell in the US for passenger service?

If United is the only major US carrier to fly the 747-400, how would there be demand here for something even bigger?

Appreciate your toughts and opinions.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Fri May 04, 2001 10:51 pm

Supposedly FED-EX has signed a LOI
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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 12:11 am

NW also flies 747-400's...and quite a few of them, too.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 12:25 am

And they were the first to take delivery, five months ahead of united. Regards - Musang
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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 1:16 am

Regarding your initial question, I don't believe a major U.S. passenger airline will buy any A380's. U.S. carriers do not need to fly anything bigger than a B777 to make a profit. (The biggest airline in the world, A.A., doesn't even have any B747's!). So I don't believe there is a need for it in the U.S.

I do believe the A380 will be a success, but mainly in the far east. I think the plane will be in a great position if people start to take 'economy class syndrome' seriously. I could see the more space given to travellers in the future, obviously reducing the number of passengers that can be carried in each flight. This could greatly increase the sales appeal of the A380.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 5:02 am

I don't think we will see an american A380 costumer in the near future, but as the traffic grows quickly i soppose that someone might order it in the next 10-20 years. As it is now the costumer would probably be UA or NW because they are the only US carriers with higher capacity a/c then the 777.

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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 5:48 am

FedEx has placed an order.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 7:43 am

Wait, Isn't United the biggest airline in the world? Not AA? Correct me if Im wrong.

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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 7:47 am

AA has the largest fleet in the world I believe.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Sat May 05, 2001 9:17 am

I think overall, UA is the biggest, I am not sure about fleets, but in the basic size. But then again that was a year or two ago and AA bought TWA and some others. I do not think a lot of US based airlines will buy the A380 because that would be supporting the EU instead of US built a/c. I do think they will be quick to sign on to the Boeing 0.95 cruiser. But I definetly can not wait to see a real A380 up close, it will be huge!!
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RE: A380 US Launch

Sun May 06, 2001 3:31 am

If an American carrier picks up the A380, then UA is the most likely candidate. It would likely see use on their trans-Pacific routes, probably alongside the 747-400 in some cases. I think Airbus is making some inroads at UA with the 319s and 320s (UA will be retiring quite a few 727s of late 1970s vintage over the next few years). I read somewhere that the same guy who sold UA the 319/320 is also the same guy in charge of now selling the 380. Of course NW is a good candidate, I'm not as familiar with their circumstances. Perhaps someone else can fill in some blanks here.

I don't think it will be used domestically because the business has changed such that more frequent service with smaller birds is the rule of thumb. Remember when you could take any number of L-1011s from NY to Florida? How about all the DC-10s and 747-100 and -200s that ran between NY and LAX? No more. If you fly CO out of EWR to the west coast you're looking at a 737 or 757. Out of JFK you can get 767 service on Delta, AA and UA. But I think even the days of 767 service is numbered. The 767-200s that UA runs JFK-LAX/SFO are approaching 20 years of age.

I too can't wait to see one of these monsters, it's going to be something else.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Mon May 07, 2001 3:33 am

The only U.S. airlines that will be operating the A380 are FedEx (who have already placed a intent to order) and Atlas Air (they have expressed interest also) Of the passenger airlines, I could see Northwest ordering a few, but not for passenger use. They will use them for cargo flights, since they could eliminate the number of cargo flights to destinations with such a large aircraft. I really do not think that any U.S. major would even consider the A380 for passenger service. As for which airline is the largest, until the United/U.S. Airways merger is approved, American has overtaken United as the largest, now that TWA is under the AA banner.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Tue May 08, 2001 8:03 am

United will definitely buy the A380, there's no question of it now Boeing have dropped the 747NG. NW could follow.

AA may be bigger than UA but UA own the Pacific and AA barely fly there at all, maybe a route to Tokyo from DFW and one from LAX?

I may be the only on who thinks so but I think Delta will buy half a dozen 747-400s in the next few years, they have a few Pacific flights (LA-Tokyo, Hong Kong) which are too juicy for the 777.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Tue May 08, 2001 6:41 pm

Northewest also flies the 744:O)
"If you believe breaking is possible, believe in fixing also"-Rebbe Nachman
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RE: A380 US Launch

Wed May 09, 2001 9:30 am

OK, its not a pax airline but nobody mentioned Atlas Air. They were mentioned in the current Flight International. However, they are not a cert because the type of cargo they carry. There are restrictons with the current A380-800F configuration due to the absence of a nose cargo door.

Anyway, they could end up ordering up to 20. Certainly if they are seeking a plane in this capacity(150 tons), there is now only one option according to the article.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Thu May 10, 2001 7:07 am

Northwest was the launch customer for the 744, not just the US Launch customer either. The first airline in the world to recieve one.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Thu May 10, 2001 7:53 am

I don't think we'll see any American pax carriers getting involved with the A380. First- they don't need it. Second- why would they buy a foreign product when something that works perfectly well (and maybe superior?) is made right here?

If we see the A380 in America, it'll probably be exclusively cargo.
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Thu May 10, 2001 9:21 am

Well, first off all, two US paassenger airlines are already involved, UA and NWA. They have been giving Airbus input on the plane ever since it's conception, about five years ago(in it's current form that is). UA will order this plane simply because unless the Sonic Cruiser is availible faster than Boeing says it will be(which it won't be), UA is going to be at a huge competitive disadvantage to QANTAS which is it's primary competitor on the LAX-Aust. route. United I believe currently has three daily flights down under, and with five percent growth for each year into the forseable future, the A380 will have no problem being filled to the gills(that's around 525 pax, not 600) by 2006.

Now secondly, check out where your shoes are made, how about the components in your car (if it's an American car it's probably made in Mexico altogether). It has been claimed that a higher percentage of Airbus' planes are from America than Boeings, although the numbers fluctuate. Right now around 40% of any given A3whatever is made right here.

Despite that, what is good for the rest of the world is gonna be good for the US. When we ship manufacturing jobs overseas, initially jobs are lost. However, the newly employed overseas can now afford to purchase more expensive American goods, this in turn benifits the whole global economy. Just think about the economic expansion of the last eight years, it wasn't just computers that drove it. It was sending jobs overseas.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Thu May 10, 2001 9:47 am

About the whole trend toward smaller planes and greater frequency:

Isn't this bound to change due to a lack of concrete? The capacity of facilities on the ground is near to its end, and from what I hear there are few prospects for new runway construction, even fewer prospects where runways are most needed, and growing reluctance among the people to pay the costs--explicit and implicit--of airport facility expansion.
Given the limits that exist on the ground, smaller planes flying more often can't be making the most efficient use of the runway (and air) space that they take up, right? So isn't it likely that the trend will eventually turn toward generally larger aircraft across the board in the name of efficiency? Such a trend might give the A380 its own nice little niche in airline fleets.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Fri May 11, 2001 2:14 pm

personaly I don't see it as being a big hit in the USA.
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RE: A380 US Launch

Fri May 11, 2001 9:33 pm

10000MOH: You raise a good point. I think the lack of new runway capacity will be an issue, but may depend on locale. For example, this could be a big item in Asia -- hence demand there for the A380.

In contrast, if you look at the LAX area, there are a few regional alternatives such as Burbank and John Wayne where more frequent service by smaller aircraft seems to be the trend.

It's going to be interesting in how this pans out. I perceive a trend towards twin jets. The popularity of the 777 supports this. To me, it just seems that introducing a 4-engine plane larger than the 747 and A340 is bucking the trend.

A compounding ugly fact is that we're in an economic downtrend right now. At my firm we have cut back a lot on travel, and many other company's have as well. As such, we may be facing another period when carriers get squeezed between rising fuel costs and dropping revenues, and this have less cash to buy or lease new planes.

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