It is Tuesday here in China but here are pictures from my connection in Seoul. We arrived early so I had time to admire a model Korean junk boat and Hermès scarf in the shop windows. (For Korea the symbolism of the crane goes back to ‘crane dances’ in the courtyards of early dynasties). Then I headed over to Gate 10 where the A380 ‘superjumbo’ was getting pulled up to the gate. I used that upper deck jet bridge to find my seat upstairs. The plane feels more like an airship than an airplane. As we started to lift off, it felt as if the ground speed was still way too slow (or maybe I was tired and dreamy). Has the A380 made some inroads into the large jet airliner segment of the market once dominated by Boeing? It certainly has – looking at the number of airplanes ordered and delivered* by EADS. Both EADS and Boeing claimed victory after several rulings by the World Trade Organization in recent years in the world’s largest trade dispute.
*As of February 2011 there were 244 orders for the A380-800. The break-even for the A380 was initially supposed to be reached at 270 units, but due to the delays and the falling exchange rate of the US dollar, it increased to 420 units. In 2010, EADS CFO Hans Peter Ring said that break-even (on the aircraft that are delivered) could be achieved by 2015, despite the delays; there should be around 200 deliveries by that time, on current projections. As of March 2010 the average list price of an A380 was US$ 375.3 million (about €261 million or £229 million), depending on equipment installed.