It is a great news day for the Boeing 737NG (again) but it is worth keeping abreast of what’s going on with the A380

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP October 15, 2010 10:21

It is a great news day for the Boeing 737NG (again) but it is worth keeping abreast of what’s going on with the A380

Today the 737NG received 30 orders from an undisclosed airline which is most likely to be Spicejet but the news that Southwest pilots have cleared the way for that airline to fly larger variants of the 737 will be music to Boeing’s ears. We can expect Southwest to be looking at the 737-800 with a view to placing a large order.

Meanwhile though the world’s largest passenger airplane, the Airbus A380 is currently conducting tests at Japanese secondary airports. Today the A380 flew into Tokyo’s Haneda airport for the first time to check whether the airport’s soon-to-open new international terminal can cope. The aircraft flew in from Airbus HQ in France to the terminal, which is scheduled to open next Thursday. The aircraft will then head to New Chitose Airport serving Sapporo, Hokkaido, on Sunday. During the stopover, various checks will be conducted, including whether the airport’s passenger boarding bridges fit the plane’s doors.

When the A380 was built it was clear that the aircraft was too big for the taxiways of many airports that limited the locations it could fly into. The aircraft also generates a major wake turbulence when they depart and force succeeding planes to wait longer than usual before taking off. This led Haneda airport along with many others to state that they would not accommodate the A380 on the grounds that it could significantly affect other passenger flights during its crowded daytime operating hours. But now Haneda say that the A380 could be accommodated late at night and in the early morning when the traffic volume is low.

Now it is becoming clear that the A380 which was designed to carry large numbers between the world’s biggest airport hubs, is carving out an unexpected new market with direct travel to secondary airports/cities. Singapore Airlines, the first company to operate the A380 in 2007, is cutting costs by using the plane to reduce the number of flights to Zurich without slashing capacity. Gulf carrier Emirates has deployed it to Manchester in northern England, adding seats without the expense of extra services.

More than 70 airports are equipped to handle the A380, which has a 262-foot (80-meter) wingspan and is 239 feet long, with Munich and Berlin among non-hubs seeking to secure flights from the five carriers that operate the aircraft type and the 10 others with orders.

The credit crunch has had an unexpected turn. The Aviation News team wrote on this very subject two years ago, in that instance stating that airlines would seek to run the A380 on routes in place of two or three other flights. Moreover the EU ETS costs for airlines could be slashed by using the A380 in place of three smaller flights. The proof that the A380 can carve out a secondary airport market does indeed make it an option for many airlines… If only they could raise the funds to purchase them! When credit becomes easier to find, we should expect some good A380 orders, or else those lessors with A380s on the books should do well in the coming years. The A380 is turning the corner.

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP October 15, 2010 10:21
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