Denies Visit Is A Sales Call
Twin Cities airplane aficionados appreciated the stopover of an
Airbus A380 Tuesday at Minneapolis-St. Paul International
Airport... but it's doubtful whether executives at Northwest
Airlines were swayed by the gesture.
Airbus spokesman Clay McConnell flatly told The Associated Press
the A380 visit wasn't intended to be a sales call for Northwest. "I
wouldn't say it's an effort to convince them," he said. "The
aircraft really speaks for itself."
Despite the official denial, Airbus probably hoped the
superjumbo airliner spoke loudly to Northwest executives, who were
treated to a 90-minute flight Tuesday afternoon. Later this week,
the aircraft will head to Los Angeles International, and onward to
On paper, Northwest would appear to be a likely A380 customer,
due to its high-volume routes to Asia -- now flown primarily by
Boeing 747-400s. Instead of signing up for the A380 to replace
those aircraft, however, the airline has opted instead for Boeing's
smaller 787 Dreamliner.
One analyst said Airbus is showing
off the A380 as its "halo" model -- much like a Chevy dealer will
put a Corvette on the showroom floor, in hopes of moving its more
pedestrian offerings. In this case, Airbus may hope Northwest will
be convinced to instead sign for other airplanes -- notably, the
upcoming A350 XWB.
"They have a pretty good chance of selling [Northwest] A350s and
of course more narrowbodies anytime," Teal Group aviation analyst
Richard Aboulafia said. "But A380s, that's selling coal to people
who have an oil-burning furnace."
Then again, Airbus may be hoping Northwest follows a similar
path as British Airways -- which recently agreed to order 12 A380s,
after earlier saying it saw little need for the mammoth
After all... as the AP writer succinctly put it, "no one flies
[to MSP] in November for the scenery."