Billionaire Orders Private Airbus A380, Declares 'Mine is Bigger than Yours'

Illustration for article titled Billionaire Orders Private Airbus A380, Declares Mine is Bigger than Yours

While the ink on Joseph Lau's order of a $153 million Dreamliner VIP is still wet, an anonymous billionaire has just reserved a gigantastic Airbus A380 for his private use. The eight-story-tall airplane will be converted into a luxurious flying mansion that will include everything you can imagine, even the obligatory whirlpool bathtub for romantic sessions with half a dozen Playboy bunnies. The secret buyer will have to pay $475 million if it ever gets delivered, as it's currently number 157 in line to get the two-year delayed winged pachyderm, and all I can ask is...

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Billion Air: How Much Would You Pay for a Flying House? [Wired]

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DISCUSSION

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is currently enjoying the most successful commercial airliner lainch in history. Boeing has made all the right moves with this plane, and sent Airbus scrambling to catch up.

The A380 can land at a few select airports in the US, and it will cost other airports millions of dollars to upgrade. Most won't do it, or can't. Combine that with the rising sales of short hops to regional airports, and the Dreamliner is clearly a much more versatile choice.

It was so versatile, in fact, that the industry turned back to Airbus and said, "Hey, you guys making anything like this?" So they set out to create a smaller, technologically advanced craft using composite materials: a Dreamliner clone. The A350, as it became known, was a debacle. Airbus lost a metric assload of money on that project, while Boeing perfected both their new craft and the techniques used to build it.

So now, Airbus has an A380, and nothing to answer the 787 Dreamliner. Boeing, on the other hand, has just received the last major component for the first Dreamliner, and the first one will be taking off from Everett soon.

The really great part: Once the Dreamliner is in full flight, they're free to ramp up the development and design of their answer to the A380, created using second-generation composites and technologies pioneered with Dreamliner. In fact, Boeing is already integrating technologies from Dreamliner into older lines, including new 777s, and the 747-800.

And all without subsidies. Keep up the amazing work, Boeing.