A380’s size matters

Ashley Milne-Tyte Mar 19, 2007

SCOTT JAGOW: I wonder what Charles Lindbergh would say if he could see the Airbus A380 land in New York later today. The gigantic plane took off from Germany this morning and will arrive on U.S. soil for the first time. Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic 80 years ago in a plane that held 450 gallons of fuel. The A380 holds 81,000. Lindberg was the only passenger on his plane and he was cramped. The A380 seats 550 people. Now, all this is impressive, but can Airbus convince anybody to buy this plane? More now from Ashley Milne-Tyte.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Airbus would love to woo U.S. airlines on this trip. But aviation consultant Michael Boyd says the airlines may prove resistant to the A380’s charms.

MICHAEL BOYD: They just don’t see a value in it because its size limits where it can go, and that limitation makes it a very difficult airplane to sell.

He says too few airports can accommodate the giant plane. David Field of Airline Business Magazine says there’s another problem for U.S. carriers: filling the seats with passengers who can make the flight profitable.

DAVID FIELD:You want to have the right mix of very high-paying business travelers as well as, you know, cheap seats in the back and the economics just are not there.

But as air travel increases and the skies get more crowded, Airbus hopes that airlines will look to the A380 and its immense capacity to make more money from each flight.

In New York, I’m Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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