Booming Economies Seek Superjumbo
Just as increased demand for airliners in the mideast and Asia
fueled record sales years for Boeing and Airbus in 2005, at least
one of those manufacturers is expecting that market to continue to
grow -- and they have a jet large enough to meet the expected
Booming economic development in China and India are expected to
fuel demand for Airbus's A380 superjumbo -- or so Airbus says.
"From the start of the [A380] program, the fastest growth rates
for air traffic in terms of passenger and in freight traffic are
seen in Asia," Airbus regional communications representative
Anthony Phillips told Agence-France Press Monday.
"The expectation is two new customers every year [for the
A380]... It would not be unreasonable to say that at least one new
customer could come from the Asia-Pacific region, in particular
from high growth markets like China or India," Phillips added.
The Airbus rep cited increased fuel efficiency as a reason many
Asian customers are going with the whalejet.
"Airlines globally are under enormous pressure to control their
costs. For an airline that today is operating a fleet of Boeing
747s, by introducing the A380, it will lower their operating cost
by up to 20 percent," he said.
The company also expects the A380 will help Airbus to make
further inroads into the traditionally Boeing-friendly Japanese
market. JAL and ANA currently operate the largest 747 fleets in the
"It has been a traditionally challenging market. There is
clearly a strong industrial link between the US and Japan," said
Phillips. "Quite clearly, with that in mind, Airbus hopes that they
will become operators of A380s in due course."
Airbus clearly faces an uphill battle there -- especially as
Boeing readies its more efficient 747-8 (above), largely to keep
current Boeing customers from going across the pond for their
larger aircraft needs. But Phillips is unconcerned.
"It is not unreasonable to expect that eventually Japan Airlines
and ANA being large operators of 747 aircraft to become customers
of the A380," he said.