Looking at it in the cold, clear, light of the day, the Airbus A380 is 37 years late, and $20.000.000-89.000.000 short:
There's nothing better, right? But to put it more bluntly, as a soon to quit Luftwaffe pilot who preferred the idea of flying for UPS told me: Boeing actually asks pilots what they want in the way of performance and layout, Airbus designs things to death and they’re still awkward. That was pre-A380, but I certainly hope that it isn’t still true.
Yeah, that's what the media think. They don't have enough good things to say about Airbus' double-decker super-jumbo. Even we raved about it. But c'mon -- does the world really need this leviathan? Airlines and the passengers they treat like cattle were doing just fine before the A380 came along, weren't they?
Besides -- the Boeing 747 did it all first.
The 747 has been around since 1970, and more than 1,100 have rolled off the production line. They've carried millions of passengers and countless tons of cargo to the four corners of the earth. If you travel for a living you've probably flown on one, especially if you spend much time in Europe or Asia. After nearly four decades in service, the 747 is doing just fine, thanks.
We're not saying that the A380 doesn't have some things going for it. For one thing, it's the first true twin-deck commercial airliner. It has nearly 40 percent more floor space than the 747, and it carries more people (though if you are one of the 853 unlucky souls squeezed into an all-coach A380, our hearts go out to you). And although some people here at Autopia think it looks like the result of a one-night stand between a Beluga whale and an albatross, I think it's gorgeous.
But don't write off the 747-800, Boeing's latest model, as obsolete junk. It carries 467 passengers (just 22 fewer than the Emirates A380), and at 250 feet long and 64 feet tall, it's not exactly tiny. It's 11 percent more fuel efficient than the A380, though that comes from Boeing, so take it with a grain of salt. It's $20 million to $89 million cheaper and you can pimp the Intercontinental model (pictured) just like the 'bus if that's your thing. Airports don't have to rebuild their terminals to accommodate it. And like an old friend, people know the 747 and trust it.
- H/T to Val de Texas