Friday, 14 January 2005

The begining of the A380 and the end of the DC-9

This week’s Economist looks at the public introduction of Airbus’ new A380 super-jumbo and the efforts of rival Boeing to come up with a different strategy based on its 7E7 Dreamliner. My gut feeling is that Airbus is banking on the continued success of legacy-style long-haul “hub-and-spoke” travel, which makes sense in developing markets, while Boeing is expecting the 7E7 to succeed in the transatlantic market between smaller destinations.

Meanwhile, the European Union and United States have agreed to keep the subsidies dispute outside the WTO process, at least for the time being. And, in other Boeing news, the airline is ending production of the Boeing 717, the latest (and last) incarnation of the DC-9/MD-80 series of aircraft; Stephen Karlson has some brief thoughts on the matter.

Update (from RKP):A quick expansion on Chris's point: if you want to read about the emergence of air taxis and point-to-point air travel, I highly recommend Free Flight by James Fallows. I'm not an aviation enthusiast, but just a guy that spent WAY too many hours on airplanes for a few years. The possibility of being able to fly out of an airport near the house with minimal fuss, and in an Eclipse 500 jet, has a lot of appeal.