Big delivery

SEOUL – I’m in Korea for the Seoul Air Show. But at the moment a lot of eyes are watching the developments elsewhere – the delivery of the first A380 to Singapore Airlines.

No doubt, the first delivery for a new airplane program is always a big deal. We’ve been through many of these events ourselves.

Bringing a new airplane to the market is always an exciting time. And we’re looking forward to similar occasions coming up - with the 787, the 777 Freighter, and the 747-8.


First deliveries are always great milestones.

Of course, much of my time is spent talking about our market and product strategies – strategies that led us away from pursuing the super-jumbo.

But regardless of our differences in philosophies, there’s no doubt that a tip of the hat is in order to Airbus on this milestone. We also salute Singapore Airlines, a great customer of ours and a leader in commercial aviation. Congratulations on a big delivery.

Comments (12)

chrisC (San Jose, CA):

Thank you for the acknowledgement of the one of a kind A380. Sure, it has a place in history for being the largest passenger jet in the world, and possibly the last of its kind.

Other than that, it sure is UGLY!

Mike (Sydney, Australia):

Well done for this week's blog Randy. It's what I think is a typical example of your class. First class no less. Credit where credit is due.

I hope it is not too long before we are doing the same thing (appreciating) the Dreamliner's handover to ANA.

Kinbin (Taipei):

I concur with Mike and Chris. Credit given on a fine accomplishment by a competitor. Kudos to Randy.

Florian (Singapore):

chris C, You forgot to underline its remarkable efficiency, in terms of noise, fuel consumption and so on.

Mark (Los Angeles, CA):

Recognizing Airbus' achievement is very classy of you. I look forward to delivery of the 787!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

As a civil aviation enthusiast first-of-all I am happy to see the Airbus A380 succeed and I hope to fly in one soon.

I don't think the A380 will be the only VLA in the
future, the 747-8I and the Yellowstone 3 project may be good contenders in the future.

I remember in the early 1990's when Boeing wanted to replace the 747 with the NLA and I saw for the first time how strange it looked with the two complete passenger decks and the low to the nose cockpit, In the later nineties I recall a very massive five aisle larger version of the NLA with an upstairs flight deck with the glairshield of the 747.

In the time afterwards when the NLA project became very expensive Boeing decided to stretch the 747 with the 500X,600X, and 700X model but when the Asian economy plumited in the late nineties the 747 stretch project was droped inplaced with the 763 ultra-widebody study, and the Sonic Cruiser project, they where replaced again with the with the successful 787 project.

Though VLA's have a future in air travel I don't see planes much larger than the 747 selling in large amounts but only the future for sure will have the final say.

John Toms (UK):

I like your gracious comments re the A380.
This piece in the UK Times (video) states that the A380 is the 'first double deck airliner in the world.'

I seem to remember that the Boeing Stratocruiser was a double decked airliner and probably the first in the world.
Unfortunately, today's journalist are too young, or inaccurate to get their facts right.

Ted Cook (Mt. Vernon, WA):

When the 747 came out, I invisioned a full double decker jet soon to come. Finally, Airbus had the guts, and now they get the glory. I hope the A380 is stretched, so it's large wing can realize it's full potential.

Tim (Irvine, CA):

Congratulations to Airbus on their accomplishment. I don't like to be critical, but it's unfortunate that the decision to build the A380 seems to have been driven more by ego to build the biggest plane than by sound business judgement.

When I look at the A380 design, I don't see the elegance and refinement of the 747, I see a hurry up design with an over-sized undercarriage and a compromised nose.

Richard (Los Angeles California):

Florian, you should ask Singapore Airlines about the efficiency. Only they can give you an accurate figure as they are the first and only airline to fly this aircraft. Airbus bases their efficiency figures on the A380 flying full with 555 passengers with NO luggage. Believe it or not. Seeing that most long haul airliners usually carry 80% of their passenger capacity; In the case of Singapore 100% capacity is 471 passengers. 80% is 377 passengers. When you add luggage, the picture regarding efficiency starts to change. Remember the A380 is 30% heavier than the 747-8. Now remember that the A380 is 6 tonnes heavier than promised and it gets even worse. I am very curious as to the "actual" efficiency. See link.


To Tim Irvine

The irony of your comments lies in the fact that the A380 is the mose aerodynamiclly refined commercial aircraft in service. That nose is shaped by aerodynamics and function, not by the desire to please plane spotters!
Re: the economic case to build the A380, remember that it was different back in 1999. Airbuses line up consisted of the A330/A340 and A320 family, all of which were selling very very well, so the VLA segment was the only market area in which Airbus was not competing with Boeing at the time.

Tim (Irvine, CA):

To Ed,

Regarding my comments about the A380 nose design, my use of the word 'compromised' was not the best choice of words. I agree with you, if some cosmetic design feature lessened the aerodynamic efficiency, that would be a compromised design. While I agree that form should follow function, I also recognize that there is some license to make a design more appealing. This was the basis for my comment.

As for the business case, it's easy to be a 'Monday morning quarterback' to use an analogy from American football. It was a bold decision for Airbus to commit the resources to build the A380 and an impressive accomplishment to follow through and deliver. I applaud them for that and hope that the A380 ultimately provides a return on investment.

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