The Airbus A380-800, the world’s largest passenger jet, and an engineering marvel. Just 10 years ago the giant of the skies was the hottest somewhat “must have aircraft” for airlines, yet only just over a decade old, the A380 is already being sold for scrap metal. With only Emirates putting in orders recently for the aircraft looks like it’s getting massively overran with smaller, more efficient, long-haul jets like the A350 and the B787. But as much as people love these new jets why do people still show so much love towards the older and bigger A380?
Let’s take the 787 for example, it has over 1,300 orders from airlines across the world. It boasts features like extremally good fuel efficiency, advanced LED lighting, more humid air and windows that dim at the touch of a button as well as it’s size and flexibility to land at smaller airports. That last point is a massive eye opener for airlines. Point to point flying is starting to become a new trend, instead of going on a smaller plane to a hub and then getting on a massive plane to your destination. But airlines couldn’t really do this before without risking the fact that the massive aircraft could not be filled to a safisfactonariy level or before even considering the route that the aircraft couldn’t accommodate the size of the aircraft, it’s about profitability and hub flying was the trend until around now. Airlines can now fly these smaller 787’s into smaller airports with fewer seats to fill on a more fuel-efficient aircraft that would MAKE MONEY as well passengers not complaining because they are on a new fancy aircraft as well as not having to stop over at a bigger, more crowded airport (like LAX). This is how airlines see it, but not everyone’s happy.
Passengers LOVE the A380, it’s size really says “long haul” to a lot of people. The A380 is just built for it with features like noise reduction from the engines, large side bins on the upper deck for people’s belongings, a lot of space to move around in, space for onboard lounges and onboard first class suites, a 15,200km range and of course two decks for up to 4 classes of travel. Plus a lot of people prefer flying on big planes on long routes because you know, people have this extra sense of “security” when flying on big planes on big routes. For example, the A330-200 is operated by both Qantas and Virgin Australia on the transcontinental Sydney-Perth route. The flight is a 5hr hop that feels like it is good and profitable for the two airlines that do it. The aircraft is large but not too large and feels appreciate for the 5hr jaunt but say if I were to do a connecting QF9 flight to London on the only slightly larger 787-9, sure the aircraft is safe and extremely capable of doing it but would I sit in an aircraft bearly larger then the A330-200 I just travelled across in for 3 times as long? Yes, but why would I when there is an A380 doing the exact same route in a larger more spacious aircraft from Sydney. Again a lot of people would disagree but a larger aircraft always sounds better to me. I should mention that the 787-9 which Qantas operates on the route have less range than the larger A380. However, there is one airline ignoring the trend. Emirates ordered 36 of the double deckers back in January to grow their fleet and become most arguably the “best airline in the world” in terms of passenger comfort, fleet size, and destinations. But most others seem to be ignoring Emirates and going the way of the more fuel efficient and smaller jets. I personally hate to see the demise of the larger means better age with the A380 and 747 but it’s about money and the airlines obviously see a lot more cash in operating the smaller aircraft.
Photographers at Melbourne Airport enjoy the view of the first Qantas A380 taking off on it’s inaugural commercial flight on the 20th of October 2008 photo credit