Are you an airplane dork who’s counting down the days until they can fly on the A380? No? Uh, me neither.
Anyway, the A380’s launch will be delayed yet again, with one plane being delivered in late 2007 (yeah right) and a bunch more being delivered in 2008. Airbus said that the delays will cost the company more than $6 billion, and Emirates is now saying they’re considering all of their options about the plane (ie, Airbus take your plane and shove it). The next time you miss a deadline at work, make yourself feel better and remember that at least the delay didn’t cost the company $6 billion. Unless you work on the A380 project, in which case it did.
A French newspaper is reporting that Airbus will announce this week that it will further delay deliveries of the A380 superjumbo. It is likely that the manufacturer will only deliver 4 of the 25 planned airplanes in its first year (Singapore and Emirates would receive 2 each). Someday soon there’ll be a book about how the A380 program went awry.
A door fell off a TAM Fokker 100 en route from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. Nobody was injured, but I’m sure at least one person was wondering what the fokker was going on. Sorry. Pretend I didn’t write that. The door fell off 18 minutes after departure, but the plane was able to return to Sao Paulo without incident. Well, the door falling off is an incident. Without further incident.
If you care about airplanes, you may be interested in these photos of the inside of the A340 owned by the Sultan of Brunei. 2 things to know:
1) This guy likes his gold
2) For whatever reason, there are somewhat pornographic advertisements on the site, for reasons I’m not quite sure about, as it’s in Russian. So, it’s not safe for work, but it’s not particularly graphic either.
If you’re sick of reading about the A380 situation, then you can skip this story (though it’s today’s only story, so suck it up, my friend): According to Air Transport World, Malaysia Airlines is going to cancel its order for 6 A380 aircraft after the recent delays were announced. The article also notes that at least one other airline is seriously considering cancelling their order as well. Malaysia Airlines hasn’t been in the best financial shape lately, so the manufacturing delays may just be a handy excuse, but the A380 doesn’t have a ton of orders to begin with, and it hardly needs more bad press…I’m sure they’re gloating over at Boeing.
Things are not going well over at Airbus. After a couple of years where they could do no wrong (and Boeing seemed to do nothing right), it’s getting messy over in Europe. The company announced another delay for the double-decker A380, pushing launch back another 6 months. Singapore Airlines, the launch customer, will take delivery in early 2007 (instead of last month). Qantas and Emirates will have their deliveries pushed back to 2008, also 6-12 months later than expected. Singapore and Emirates are now seeking compensation from the manufacturer for the delays. (As you can imagine, each of these airlines had financial targets based on putting these 500+ seat aircraft into service. Delays are extremely costly. And nerds like me were sorta excited to go and fly on one of these sooner rather than later).
Meanwhile, there’s been a bit of a mess around the launch of the A350, which will compete with the rather successful Boeing 787. There’s been a public debate about the aircraft’s design and a number of revisions about the actual performance of the airplane. It’s gotten so bad that Airbus’ COO felt the need to come out and say that the "chaos" around the program must end. Add the uncertainty around the A350 to the uncertainty around the A380, and the near-term future of Airbus isn’t looking so hot. The team at Boeing is gloating, I’m sure.
With the news that Mesa’s new airline called Go! will be flying regional jets between Hawaiian islands, I was kinda wondering how you get a regional jet to Hawaii since it’s too far to fly nonstop from the mainland under normal circumstances. If you were wondering the same thing (and I’m sure you weren’t), here’s the answer (thanks to the folks at Airliners.net): you take out all the seats and you fill the cabin with fuel tanks. You can see what that looks like here and here.
It is a slooooowwwww news morning in AirlineWorld, so the pickins were slim this morning. Which is why I’ll tell you that there are about 2,000 aircraft still parked in the desert waiting for some nice family to take them home. This number is way down from the months following 9/11, but if you’re looking to own a gas guzzling L-1011 of your very own, now may be the time to jump in. As noted here before, it could make a nice house.
For those of you interested in why the Boeing 717 failed (and you know who you are), the Long Beach Press-Telegram has a pretty in-depth article about the aircraft. (In short, the plane — which Boeing inherited from McDonnell Douglas and was originally the DC-9 — was viewed as a competitor to the wildly successful 737 and was killed off to avoid siphoning business from that aircraft. Incidentally, Boeing has sold more than 5,000 737s.)
The NY Times has a disturbing article reporting that Airbus is considering a version of its A380 with standing room seats. Yes, seats where you cannot sit down. In theory, this would only be available on short-hop flights in, for example, Japan (Japanese airlines currently deny interest in these scheme). Unsettling, yes? The article also notes (and this won’t shock you) that airlines are squeezing more seats in coach these days.
On a positive note, the Airline Interior Expo is going on right now and airlines are showing off what first class flying will be like in the future (read: lots of space, lots of electronic gadgets). The gap between the haves and the have-nots will keep growing on planes (just as it does everywhere else). Thanks to Engadget and travelnate for the heads up.