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   제목: the Airbus 380 the future of air travel or a relic of the past?

the Airbus 380 the future of air travel or a relic of the past?



An Air France Airbus A-380 is under maintenance in the Air France hangar in Roissy at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris on March 14, 2017. (Philippe Wojazer/Reuters)




By Ashley Halsey III

August 19 ,2018

It was designed to become the grande dame of aviation, an enormous modern plane that could seat 544 passengers 853 if you squeezed people in on two decks, replacing the venerable Boeing 747 with a new standard of luxury in flight.

Just 11 years later almost a nanosecond in the life of a commercial airplane two Airbus 380s can뭪 find a home and are about to be broken up and sold for parts.

The A380 may still be the future of aviation Airbus makes that argument or it may be the relic of an era from which aviation has spun forward with startling speed. But there is no question that the giant aircraft is hanging by a thread after it was first delivered in 2007 with fanfare that suggested it was the Next Great Thing.

Moreover, what happens to the largest commercial aircraft on Earth may reflect an evolution in air travel caused, to put it most simply, because smaller planes can fly longer distances.




If you live in a big city, which is pretty much any city that is home to two or more major professional sports franchises, it뭩 a safe bet you뭨e in a hub for at least one airline, and maybe several.

Most of the rest of America is in a spoke city.

The hub system is one reason a flight from Boston to Denver might go through Chicago on United Airlines, Dallas on American Airlines or Atlanta on Delta Air Lines.

The hub-and-spoke system isn뭪 going to evaporate from domestic travel anytime soon, but there are several signs that over time it may erode.

The chairman and chief executive of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, likes to say that 뱎oint-to-point is a scheduling philosophy. While Southwest has hubs in 10 big-city airports, its planes fly an average of six flights each day, so it also provides direct flights between a lot of cities that are spokes for the three other big U.S. airlines.




The Boeing 737 has been Southwest뭩 plane of choice since the outset, but today뭩 Boeing 737 Max is a very different airplane from the one that first flew 51 years ago. Among the biggest changes, the 737 Max has more than doubled the distance it can fly. The plane that once had to make a refueling stop to get across the United States can fly from Philadelphia to Dublin.

[Dulles expansion prepares airport for new widebody jets]

For Southwest, the range of the 737 means later this year or early next, there will be flights to Hawaii from four California cities that aren뭪 San Francisco and Los Angeles, the state뭩 two big airline hubs.

밯hat the Max does for us, Kelly said in an interview, 밿s it뭩 40 percent quieter, it burns 13 to 14 percent less fuel, so the range is extended from the current model by about 15 percent.




Two other twin-engine, fuel-efficient, long-range planes have entered the commercial market recently. The Airbus A330 Neo (about 250 or more passengers with a range of 6,800 miles) and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (upward of 240 passengers depending on seating configuration, and a range of more than 9,000 miles).

At a mega-airline show in Britain last month, Airbus sold 34 A330s to AirAsia, while Boeing signed orders for 52 of the 787 Dreamliners. Boeing says it has received 1,365 orders for the 787. Not a single A380 was purchased.

It costs more for airlines and passengers to land at a hub airport, with London뭩 Heathrow setting a record a couple of years ago when a slot changed hands for $75 million. It뭩 generally cheaper, particularly for low-cost airlines, to fly to U.S. cities such as Austin; Hartford, Conn.; Tampa; or Oakland, Calif.




Throw in Providence, R.I., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and that뭩 what Norwegian Airlines is doing with a fleet of primarily Boeing 787s and the Boeing 737 Max.

Although foreign airlines fly dozens of A380s to hub airports in the United States each day, none of the three major U.S. carriers has bought one, even as they phase out their use of the Boeing 747, relying mostly on another Boeing, the 23-year-old 777, which can carry close to 400 passengers.

Delta, United and American own hundreds of other planes built by Airbus, a European multinational corporation with headquarters in Toulouse, France, so it뭩 not an aversion to Airbus that keeps them from buying the 쵡380.

Selected articles from The Washington Post
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