What market for the A380 The issue taps, for four years already, analysts and observers of the airlift, frightened by the share of risk inherent in such a project. The genesis of the program dates back to 1996, time which the European aircraft manufacturer has identified a demand of airlines for a device of a size greater than that of the Boeing 747, in particular on certain lines such as Singapore-London, where they were forced to multiply the frequencies with a widebody aircraft to meet the demand. Airbus has therefore worked on this project with 20 carriers (Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways...), Asian (Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Singapore Airlines)... or Americans United (Northwest...). And, noting that companies with large fleets of 747 also operated the aircraft cargo version, he decided, after discussions with FedEx, start two versions which was still called the a3xxs, one for the passengers, the other for cargo.
In the eyes of Airbus, there is no doubt that the thus identified market is one of the most interesting are. It assesses it at approximately 1,500 units over the next twenty years, and account to capture half, or 750 aircraft. "This segment is not a huge units number, compared to the A320, which would be about 10,000 units during the same period." "However, it is much more profitable: over the next twenty years, it will only represent 10 of the number of delivered aircraft, but 20 of the total value of the market", says Richard Carcaillet, Director of marketing and product for the A380.
Boeing was unwilling, or unable, follow this path. Arguing that air transport was moving now towards the point to point, and that the era of the "hubs" was gone, the American giant, after proposed without success to the companies one umpteenth version of its 747, retreated on carriers means, first of all with Sonic Cruiser, eventually abandoned, and then with the 7E7, a program launched officially here are a couple of weeks.
Japan Airlines, prime target
Remains that, if the backlog for the A380 is now well filled, it lacks still customer of a Japanese company. Owner of the largest fleet of 747 in the world, with more than 80 aircraft, Japan Airlines is of course a preferred target. But for the time being, the archipelago is meadow square of Boeing. "We are working to convince them," said Richard Carcaillet, who believes that "it is a matter of time", referring to the year 2010. Others believe that everything will be much faster: "the arrival of the A380 be comparable to that of the 747 in the 1970s." Companies will have to take, because the passengers want to fly on this aircraft. "And when they have begun to arise in Tokyo, the Japanese will fail over," said Jean-Luc Grillet, regional director France and Benelux of the company of Dubai, Emirates, which has ordered 43 units of the very large carrier. Airbus made the same bet for Chinese carriers. "Several companies, such as Air France, will serve Beijing A380", said Richard Carcaillet, who says that "the opportunity to see such aircraft fly under the Chinese colors for the Olympic Games in Beijing, in 2008, is really attractive".