Airbus Donates A380 Superjumbo to France’s Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace
A Valuable Commercial Lesson
Airbus has donated one of its A380 double-decker to the to France’s Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace national aerospace museum at Le Bourget Airport. But after fewer than 10 years in service, the A380’s twin aisle, dual level design is less successful commercially than the engineers had expected.
While Airbus was able to emulate the engineering achievements which the Boeing Company had accomplished almost 50 years ago, with the roll out of the B-747. Launch customer Pan Am’s Chairman Juan Trippe predicted that the 747 would be “… a great weapon for peace, competing with intercontinental missiles for mankind’s destiny.” In the late 1960’s traffic was growing exponentially and the airlines depended heavily on airport hubs to distribute passengers from JFK, LHR, CDG, NAR, FRA, etc. to destinations around the world.
By the time that Airbus began the “we can build one, too” project, passengers sought to avoid the delays inherent in the congested hub airports. Further, improved wing, engine, materials and performance technologies facilitated flights among secondary and tertiary markets. Boeing introduced airplanes which could serve long, thin city pairs, while the folks at Toulouse continued on their quest for a bigger B-747.
While the A380 at the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace will constitute a great opportunity for visitors to gawk at this true double decker, its presence at the home of the Paris Air Show might inspire economists and financiers to study the business case for this aviation “air”tefact.