Wed, Nov 16, 2005
'You Don't Need No Stinkin' Boeing...'
Even if the just-announced Boeing 747-8 is designed to be an
Airbus killer, the makers of the A380 superjumbo say they're not
dead yet. In fact, the European consortium believes
they're just now starting to talk with the companies that might be
their biggest customers for the giant airliner -- low cost carriers
overseas, specifically in Japan.
Airbus Vice President Christopher Stonehouse told a news
conference in Malaysia Tuesday that his company is negotiating with
several Japanese airlines to come up with an 800-passenger version
of the A380 for short-haul domestic flights.
"We believe there is a market there (in budget aviation),"
Stonehouse said at the conference, ahead of the A380's arrival in
Malaysia as part of Airbus's three-nation Asia-Pacific promotional
tour for the collosal airliner.
Stonehouse wouldn't name any specific airlines, but he did talk
a little about the specific problems Airbus might encounter trying
to fulfill a short-haul, mass-passenger need. For instance, the
stresses put on the airframe from so many TLOs (take-off and
landing operations) brings into question issues such as life-cycles
and maintenance, that wouldn't otherwise be seen on transoceanic
"We are working with [carriers] on this in terms of design
constraints... because you end up with greater fatigue on
short-cycle," he told conference attendees.
Stonehouse declined to name any possible carriers, and no
Japanese airlines -- traditionally seen as Boeing-friendly -- have
as yet placed an order for the A380.
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