State of the Airlines

Friday, September 29, 2006

Good News, Bad News for Airbus

The good news: The group tasked with studying wake turbulence on the A380 has found that standard spacing for the aircraft on departure and landing will not need to increase as much as originally feared (ATW link). This helps to mitigate some but not all the concerns from already crowded airports trying to maximize the number of aircraft they can shove through their airspace. The A380 will cause a 2 minute wait for another "heavy" aircraft on departure (same as the 747) but will cause a 3 minute wait for medium and light aircraft (up from the 2 minute wait on the 747). On approach it is going to require increased spacing for all aircraft types. If you read this and found yourself asking what is wake turbulence and why do I care then Wikipedia is your friend.
The bad news: Information continues to trickle out of Airbus that the A380 is sucking up company resources like there is no tomorrow. This resource drain will likely cause 6-12 month delay on the A350 XWB pushing it into 2013 for the first deliveries. If Boeing can maintain their timeline to deliver the first 787-8 in 2008 with the larger 787-3 and 787-9 in 2010 then the story on the A350 XWB could be over before its begun.

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