787s or A380s?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The ‘which one is right’ discussion seems to be having another round, as Boeing ramps up 787 production and observers comment that nobody seems to be ordering more A380s. Four engines is two engines too many seems to be the ‘A380 doesn’t work’ message. But every flight I’ve made recently it seems I’ve spotted somebody else’s A380s at the airport.

China Southern A380 542
▲ Here’s a China Southern A380 I spotted taxiing out at Beijing airport a couple of weeks ago. I was on a Thai International A330.

SFO - Lufthansa A380 542
▲ And a Lufthansa one at San Francisco. From my United 747.

I’ve still only flown on two airlines’ A380s – Qantas and Singapore Airlines. I preferred the Qantas layout. And I haven’t yet flown on anybody’s 787. Meanwhile one 787 which has plenty of attention focussed on it is the Ethiopian Airlines one which suffered fire damage while parked at London Heathrow back in July. It’s still there and, my favourite site for aviation gossip, now has 52 pages of speculation about what it’s going to take to repair it. Somebody flying into Heathrow a few days ago photographed the curtained-off repair site and it looks like they’ve removed the aircraft’s tail. Which would indicate that repairing it is proving to be quite a big job. Nobody at Boeing is saying.