The A380 and the American carriers

While Airbus is racking record orders from the Middle East for its A380 giant plane and more modest orders from European carriers, such as Air France and Lufthansa, the US market seems to be out of bounds for this model. In fact, there is nothing new with this, the next-largest Boeing 747 was also popular in Europe and Asia, but not among American carriers.

It looks like the economics of very large aircraft are not attractive enough for a bunch of network carriers that for most of the last two decades have been focused in a dire financial situation. Moreover, the American air market with its multiple hubs might be better served with smaller planes providing more frequencies, whereas European, Middle Eastern and Asian flag carriers usually serve a single mega-hub.

Here is an interesting article in the WSJ Middle Seat Terminal blog that comments on the possibility that the last wave of consolidation among US airlines, with the mergers of Delta and Northwest on one hand and United and Continental on the other, could pave the way for fresh A380 orders from across the Atlantic...a move that would be certainly welcome in Toulouse, that is becoming increasingly dependent on one single airline, Emirates, to make its A380 programme break even some day in the future.