THE EDSEL RETURNS, BUT NO FINS THIS TIME, JUST WINGS
The super-duper, splendid jumbo jet, the French-made A380 is readier than ever! So it's . . . actually ready? Not quite, but man is it gonna be good when it is. A few of its special features and amenities:
The interior is roomy, and economy seats leave ample elbow room in the 540-seat demonstration cabin fitted by Airbus . . . Airlines Qantas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines plan to go further, fitting the plane with fewer than 500 seats to give each passenger more space.Ok, so far, so good. How about "the custom features planned by airlines" including "onboard casinos, beauty salons and even hot tubs"? Well, Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy admits that there may be:
"a little bit of hype. The reality will be lounges, the reality will be duty free shops where you can generate some extra revenue," although an unidentified carrier "has already installed a shower in first class."It's not enough they get free drinks served by smiling young ladies, now they get showers? Do the flight attendants clean them? Leahy also told reporters that:
"We have a lot of interest in the aircraft, despite all the problems we had last year . . . It's a game-changing airplane. The only minor problem is that we couldn't build it on time."Like the game-changing professional athlete who's only minor problem is that he's never healthy enough to play. I'm taking his word on the plane's success. Despite the delays that have left Airbus's customers in the lurch, Leahy told reporters that:
"All those customers, all of whom have cancellation rights on this program, have decided not to cancel."Finally, as discussed by Airbus's chief engineer:
The A380 may be an "engineer-driven" program that "will not make a penny for the next 10 years," but that does not mean it will not be a commercial success for decades after that. "Like the 747, it should be operating for the next 40 years. The demand is definitely there — this isn't another Concorde."No profits for 10 years, yet a commercial success. I want this guy to do my books. And my only question at this point: will we have fuel to fly the damn things in 40 years . . . assuming they're ready in 40 years?