Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Airbus is in a superjumbo-sized pile of shit.

Great article at Spiegel Online. Do read it all:
It was beautiful -- in an almost otherworldly way. Fairies and elves hovered above the trees as wisps of fog rose into the air. Everything was bathed in shimmering blue light. The 5,000 invited guests, the crème de la crème of the European business, political and cultural worlds were enchanted as they watched the world's largest passenger aircraft, the A380, being unveiled in the southwestern French city of Toulouse…

It was January 18, 2005, a date almost everyone expected to go down in the history books in European aviation. With its €11 billion A380 project, Airbus planned to finally out-fly American competitor Boeing, long the leading force in this high-tech industry. Even at its unveiling, the A380 was more than just an airplane. It was also a symbol of what was to become Old Europe's victory over the United States.

Now the fog has dissipated, the fairies have flown away and the world's largest passenger aircraft -- 73 meters (240 feet) long and 24.1 meters (79 feet) tall -- is flying -- at least in test flights. And as expected, it has become a symbol. But not the one Europeans had been hoping for. Instead, the A380 has become emblematic of the European aviation industry's most severe economic crisis ever.


Anonymous verity said...

But it did get some orders from the US IIRC. That surprised me.

9:38 pm  
Anonymous Ross Maartin said...

Yeah, FedEx and UPS signed on for the 380F; 2001 the former, 2005 the latter. Each signed for 10 and 10 options. I'm not too surprised in that there is a great level of political implications in ordering (and supporting) from Airbus, such as greater access to Euro terminals.

10:15 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

That makes sense, ross maartin, if they're intending to use them as gigantic freighters - certainly needing access to Euro terminals. And yet, and yet, how many Euro terminals can accommodate this behemoth? So, I dunno. Goodwill at CDG and similar, perhaps.

Ah, the grandiose dreams of La France! They're not going to beat the Americans, but they never give up, do they?

(Nice fact about FedEx, for those who don't know. Employees can fly free X times a year, with a family member or a partner. They have a small passenger cabin up front. A very friendly little perk they offer their employees. That's why I always choose FedEx in preference to UPS. Also, I don't like that drab brown UPS livery. FedEx looks zippier. Also FedEx was the first. And it was started by a Nam vet.)

11:54 pm  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

who wants to fly in an aircraft that is an enormous target for islamic terrorists?

blow up an airbus jumbo and you kill far more people. i think i'll stick with the slick , fast, Boeing dreamliner.

12:27 am  
Blogger AntiCitizenOne said...

"how many Euro terminals can accommodate this behemoth?"

The only one that counts, Heathrow.

1:47 pm  
Anonymous Enid said...

It's too big, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Imagine waiting for your bags to come up on the carousel, or are you the last to be served lunch or whatever - somebody has to be! No thanks. The French/English had a winner in the Concorde why not update that? Think we are too late the Japanese are working on that idea with a quieter engine.

2:24 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

enid, I don't think you've read enough about it. It has something like six doors for passenger boarding and disembarking, and several luggage carousels that are sorted by which section the luggage was stored in. The plane can be boarded and disembarked in the same time as a 747.

It has two stories with kitchens on both and plenty of people to serve. It has a bar and they are thinking of putting in shops. There is also talk of a gym in the First Class section.

The logistics of the passengers have been well thought out. It's getting the plane itself taken off and landed that is the problem.

And I agree, it would be a target for muslim shit bags to bomb.

2:42 pm  
Anonymous Enid said...

I stand corrected...all will be well everything has been catered for...except you say that taking off and landing is the problem. Ah well we can't have everything.

2:50 pm  
Anonymous verity said...

Enid, I do concede that that is the critical point.

5:53 pm  

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