I am pretty much a dyed in the wool Boeing kind of guy. I worked on Boeing aircraft for years and as a student of aviation history I find the Boeing story fascinating. But there is no denying that AirBus also builds some great airplanes … and there is also (sadly) no denying the fact that Boeing really missed the boat on long-haul, high volume aircraft over the past 10 years. Boeing will quote you the party line that they are going to make all sorts of profit from the “Dreamliner” and their “new” features on the 747 lineup, but the term “whistling in the dark” leaps to mind.
The 787 Dreamliner is widely touted because of its speed … it will be faster than any other airliner. But Boeing’s current market leader, the 777 is the slowest of modern jets .. primarily because it attains its purchase cost and economy of operation lead by being under-powered. The 787 is pretty much a 777 with more plastic, fancier interior trim (which will never see airline service because it is pretty but not cheap) that has been given the power and hence the performance that the ‘econo-box” 777 lacks. And the hyped up 747-8? Folks, let’s face it … I love the 747 and it has been a fantastically good airplane, but the first one rolled out of the factory 30th September 1968. 1968 … what were you doing in 1968? Were you even a gleam in your daddy’s eye? This September 30th the 747 will be 39 years old! You can stuff in a new engine and reupholster the seats of a 1968 Ford Mustang too, but I doubt anyone world consider it competition for this.
Likewise, the A380 is going to revolutionize trans-ocean travel the way that the 747 did a lifetime ago. Fares will be cheaper … or at least hold the line against rising fuel prices, cabin comfort will be increased … more space and better appointments … and travel to the Philippines will benefit.
The first commercial flight of the A380 will be from Singapore to Sydney, Australia on October 25/26th. If you want to get on it, you can join the auction for first flight seats on www.ebay.ph . I’m eagerly awaiting the first Philippine A380 destination flights.