World's Largest Gadget, Airbus A380, Completes U.S. Maiden Voyage, 747 Pwned

The monstrous double-decker Airbus A380 made its maiden voyage to the United States yesterday, landing at New York's JFK airport, and a few minutes later, another one landed at Los Angeles's LAX. While these were not the first flights of the world's largest passenger airplane—that happened in April of 2005—it is the first time the plane has flown to the United States.

It's part of a publicity tour of the Airbus A380, showing people that this gigantic tin can stuffed with 300 miles of wires inside and a wingspan the size of a football field can actually fly. Airbus officials may feel a little antsy because none of the planes have been bought by U.S. airlines, which prefer smaller planes carrying fewer passengers on more nonstop flights. But yes, the gargantuan flying machines actually made it to the U.S.; Check out the video and see one of them landing at LAX for yourself.

World's largest passenger airliner comes to L.A. [native intelligence]

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Royboy - Actually, Airbus bested Boeing in sales for a few years running, Boeing just regained the lead in sales. However, the majority of Airbus sales have been in the A320 family, which outsells the competing B737 family about 1.5:1, while Boeing has had the sales lead in wide bodies with the B777 & B747 besting the A330/340, and now the B787 is tearing up the market. The wide bodies have a much higher margin, so it makes Boeing's sales more profitable.

The updated B747-8 has been showing strong sales, picking up after the B747-400 sales had gone dormant, and it has been landing more sales than the A380 (which has suffered a loss in sales with the cancellations from FedEx and UPS).

Airbus screwed themselves by dicking around too long in coming up with the A350XWB to respond to the B787. The initial plan to just keep selling the A330 with new engines was a joke. The next plan of a mildly refreshed A330 was hardly any better. And the A330-derived A350 was weak. They wasted a few years, and burned a lot of good will, in the process. They finally did what everyone knew they had to do - and launched a new plane as the A350XWB. But now it won't enter service before 2013, while the B787 does so in 2008.

Between the A380 delays, the A350 fiasco, and the delays on the A400M project, Airbus is in trouble. They're also getting hammered by the exchange rates - since the aircraft are sold in dollars, but their costs are in euros.

Airbus is going to have a real challenge in a few years when it is time to start developing the next generation of narrow-body to replace the B737 and A320. Boeing will have a clean slate, with the B787 in service for a few years and plenty of resources to devote to the project. Airbus will still be mired in the A350 project, and while the A380's problems should be solved well before then, the legacy of the crushing debt will be with them for many years. They need to sell over 400 A380s just to break even, and that looks iffy.