Waterbomber2 wrote:If a new technology would allow to fly transatlantic for say 100 bucks return, the demand will be so huge that it can only be met by larger aircraft. Smaller aircraft like the B787 would become irrelevant and unnecessarily take up space in the air and on the ground.
That's simply not true; most people will still have obligations in their lives (jobs, families, pets, etc.) which will limit their ability to travel more than a few times a year, and they'll still face the expenses of accommodations, food, and tourist attractions while away from home. Not everyone wants to deal with a change of six time zones in both directions every month, and while there are advantages of touring Europe and North America in winter, many don't enjoy being cold when on vacation.
Waterbomber2 wrote:15 years ago evedybody was weilding around Nokia 3310's like that was the thing to have, today you can park your car with your smartphone and Nokia has become irrelevant because it didn't follow the smartphone drift.
And 40 years ago the amount of computer processing power which now fits in your pocket required dedicated rooms of space. But we're not seeing the same level of advances in aerodynamics and propulsion systems that we've seen in the semiconductor industry and certainly haven't seen that pace in decades, if ever. Moreover, it's likely that we are approaching the limits of what our current semiconductor technologies can achieve in terms of miniaturization; going an additional order of magnitude smaller in chip feature sizes will probably result in strange behaviors due to quantum effects.
Also, keep in mind that part of the rapid advancement in mobile computing is enabled by the fact that our lives usually don't rely on our devices functioning properly at virtually all times. The same is not true of aircraft & jet engines; nor is it true of medical devices (which is why they advance more slowly, too).
Waterbomber2 wrote:The A380 offers a unique platform to try out any kind of new technology. Somebody above said that it would still have 4 jet engines and be inefficient.
Who says that the next breakthrough will be a jet engine or any form of combustion engine at all?
But a smaller platform is very likely to be a better choice for trying out a new technology -- a smaller, less complex model makes for a far better and less costly test bed. Moreover, in your hypothetical case where the cost of fuel were to become nearly negligible, most of the other operational costs would remain -- i.e. crew costs, real estate rental, maintenance materials, financing costs, taxation, etc. Free fuel would likely only reduce airline operating costs by 20-25% -- in 2018, fuel only made up 23% of DL's operating expenses as an example.
anfromme wrote:Just for perspective: World air traffic was at ~4 trillion RPK in 2000, when the A380 was launched. It's now at just shy of 9 trillion, with historically low air fares. And still the A380 isn't selling.
You might even say because of this, the A380 is not selling, as most growth was seen in the A320/737 segment, driven by the likes of Indigo, Spicejet, Lion Air, Ryanair, Easyjet, JetBlue, etc.
One key factor is that the vast majority of trips taken by air are in relatively short-haul markets where models like the A320 and 737 are good choices due to moderate unit costs and the ability to offer the frequency preferred by the market. The A321neo, 737MAX-10, and future mid-market aircraft slotted above these models in capacity are likely best poised to capture growth in the segment of distances under 3000 nm or so.