Posts Tagged ‘superjumbo’

“Giant A380 Jetliner Proves SFO Planners Were Right?” Uh, Not Really, SFGate

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Well, here’s the latest from Business Report – The Chronicle with Bloomberg:

Giant A380 jetliner proves SFO planners were right

Uh, so I’m not saying that the powers that be shouldn’t have gotten ready for the long-delayed Airbus A380 jumbo jet, but this wasn’t all that much of a gutsy call, right? It’s like, should we prepare to accommodate the jets that are being planned for five-ten years from now?

O.K., so why not prepare? Sure. But I don’t know how much credit should go to the people of SFO for doing what they’re paid to do.

See? Some have three jetway thingees, some have two:

Click to expand

In other news, the new A380 uses more fuel than any other airliner you could think of. So this is incorrect:

It’s a much less fuel-consuming aircraft. It’s a much more efficient aircraft; it costs 30 percent less to operate than other wide bodies.”

And considering all the hype, the hype like this:

The A380′s modernity, comfort and stylishness should help drive business between the Bay Area and overseas markets, said R. Sean Randolph, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. Randolph said he thinks this is especially true of the burgeoning business relationship with India, which generates high transpacific traffic.”

…the A380 appears to be kind of a big nothingburger. You want to fly from India, you can do it on a Boeing 777 or an old 747 or, soon enough, the long-delayed new 747-8i. And in fact, if anything, the trend of rising fuel prices is making some airlines rethink the desirability of non-stop hops from faraway lands. And “stylishness?” You know, I’d just love to make business with you there, Reddy, but that triple-seven they want me to fly over on, well, it just doesn’t do it for me, it’s not stylish at all, you know? I’ll wait until Airbus makes a fat piggy plane with wings that are too big (because they were designed for future stretched versions like the A380-900, or, Gaia help us, the mythical A380-1000. But, seeing as how the freighter version of the miraculous, wonderful, oh-my-God-this-changes-everything A380 got cancelled, it might be a good long time before the world sees a stretched A380…)

And speaking of the new 747, Lufthansa is also buying those as well, so maybe you’ll be on a Boeing the next time you fly to Frankfurt. IRL, Lufthansa calculates about a 3% delta in fuel economy per passenger betwixt the newish A380 and the impending Boeing 747-8i.

Anyway, the giant A380 jetliner does not necessarily prove SFO planners right, just saying.

Now, about those substandard runways…

Boeing Celebrates the First Flight of the New 747-8 Intercontinental Jumbo Jet – Does It Get Better MPG Than the Airbus A380?

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Here it is, the latest VLA (Very Large Aircraft) to hit the skies. Get all the deets right here and be sure to check out the Flight Tracker – they flew over Port Angeles (and not too far from Forks, WA and La Push Beach (for you Twilight fans)).

The other VLA up there there is the Airbus A380 Superjumbo, which burns more fuel but has more seats. The test will be when you fill up both with maximum passengers and then fly a certain distance and then figure the fuel burn per passenger.

The A380 is a new plane but it’s kind of stubby and its engines are older than those on the freshened 747. Probably the A380 will win the mpg battle, but only by a few percentage points. And both manufacturers (but especially Airbus) might end up losing money on these programs. Oh well.

First flight:

Click to expand

Anyway, that’s current battle above your heads….

QANTAS Abandons S.F. for Texas – No More Qantas Rolls-Royce Ka-Booms over the 415 – SFO’s Airbus A380 Cargo Cult

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

How long has it been since three-star-rated former Mayor Gavin Newsom left office – has it been a week or two? Well, we’ll leave that to the judges and justices ‘n stuff, but, irregardless, it’s been long enough* for Qantas Airways Limited to announce that its abandoning the San Francisco Bay Area, g’night, mate.

Why? Well it’s ’cause they’ve been losing mad dollars on non-stop flights betwixt SFO and Cindy, Australia for donkey’s years. Enough is enough they figure, so future flights from Down Under will alight in Dallas, Texas. (Some Bay area travel(l)ers are not amused, not at all.)

Now, weren’t we due for superjumbo Airbus A380 double-decker service by now for those non-stop flights to Oz? Oh yes, but instead of getting that, we’re losing the non-stop, regular-jumbo Boeing 747-400 service we have now. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking how could this be, San Francisco is a “natural amphitheater,” a “world-class” city even. Well, not anymore, or at least SFO isn’t a “world-class” airport anymore.

However, there’s a silver lining. You see, them Rolls-Royce engines, those RB211′s and those Trents 500 and up, well they blow up sometimes, ka-boom! Call it an “uncontained failure” they do. And QANTAS well, that’s pretty much all they run these days, the Rolls-Royce. (Just look at Australia’s national flag, why not, for the reason.) So, less Qantas = less less RR = less ka-boom over our heads.

For example, check out this Qantas flight out of SFO just last summer. It had passed the Farallones with almost full tanks and then, kaboom, Rolls-Royce engine #4 exploded. Oh well. Everybody made it back safe tho. Check it on the YouTube.

Flight 74 getting a little sparky high above the deep briny – not what you want to see looking out your window. Time to dump your avgas and circle back to Millbrae:

Click to expand

I hear you, you’re saying that’s the old Rolls-Royce. But, you know, that Qantas A380 engine that blewed up just after leaving Singapore late last year, that’s the new RR – indeed, that was a fairly recent vintage Trent 900 engine that destroyed itself. Oh well. The Aussie A380s have been patched up and now Qantas is flying them as far as they want again, to Los Angeles among other places. But not very long after the flights started again, yet another Qantas Rolls Royce engine went kaboom - this one was a contained failure, so that’s some consolation, anyway. Check it:

“A Qantas spokeswoman said yesterday the Rolls-Royce RB-211 engine would be replaced and the aircraft would be in service shortly. She said the latest incident involving Qantas jets and Rolls-Royce engines did not indicate any pattern of trouble. ”We certainly don’t view it that way at all,’ the spokeswoman said.”

O.K. fine. Whatever you say, lady.

Now with the SFO cargo cult. Leave us review:

“Cargo cult activity increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when the residents of these in some Pacific islands observed the Japanese and American combatants bringing in large amounts of material. When the war ended, the military bases closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behaviour that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.”

See where I’m going here? Didn’t we just get done re-doing SFO so that we could handle five or six A380 superjumbos at a time? Hells yes! We saw a few test runs from aircraft with Airbus, Emirates and Qantas livery over the past few years.**

But those big metal birds didn’t come back.

No cargo for us.

So am I saying that it was a stupid idea for SFO to prepare for the Age of the Super Jumbo Jet? No, not really. I don’t know all the deets of how things costed out, and who knows, it wasn’t impossible that official San Francisco’s dream of somehow besting Los Angeles could have eventually worked out. But if you could have seen how proud SFO officials were of their A380-only, double decker jet bridges in the new International Terminal back in the day, well, you’d be thinking cargo cult too.

Who knows what the future will bring. International air travel will increase like gangbusters over the coming decade, so we’ll probably get some use out of those dusty double-decker jetways sooner or later. And maybe then Qantas will be back, with or without A380s. (The Q has abandoned us before, and we made do.) Or maybe Emirates will get a little more MPG from the non-Rolls-Royce, American-made GP7200 engines on their A380s so they’ll be able to make a non-stop superjumbo hop to the Bay Area from the Mid-East. Maybe.

(And maybe by that time SFO will be called Willie Lewis  Brown Jr. International Airport, I’m seriously, that’s what the other former Mayor of SF wants, he wants us to chuck the extremely well-known SFO moniker for WLB. Can you imagine?)

Anywho, if you want to go Sydney after May 2011, your only choice will be United Airlines. Now, that flight is on an old jet that the President of United says is “unacceptable,” but at least you don’t have to fly to Los Angeles on your way Down Under.

So long, Qantas.

*They waited a only a few days – what a joke!

**Man, what a load this was:

“Sensitive to the politically charged nature of outsourcing and offshoring, the Airbus chairman for North America, Allan McArtor, said 50 percent of the A380′s components are being made in the United States. McArtor hailed the new aircraft as quieter and more fuel efficient than wide-body jetliners of the past. Final assembly of the plane will be done in Toulouse, with the first test flights scheduled for next year.”

50% American content? Absolutely not. There’s a bit of American content in A380′s (some of them have more and some less) but it ain’t nowhere near 50% and there’s no way it could have been 50%. Airbus is run by the Euros – why would they go out of their way to employ Americans?

“G’Day Airbus!  Qantas A380 Arrives at SFO

Qantas' A380 arrives at the International Terminal“On January 14, 2009, SFO welcomed Qantas Airways’ new A380 as it arrived from Sydney – the first Airbus A380 to bring scheduled passengers to SFO. The aircraft’s arrival was celebrated with a party at its gate in the International Terminal.   Sponsored by Tourism Australia, the party featured Australian music, meat pies and sausage rolls, and a kangaroo.

The International Terminal, which opened in December 2000, was specifically designed to easily handle the arrivals and departures of large capacity airplanes such as the A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

SFO’s International Terminal, with the country’s only built-in A380-ready gates, is the future for comfortable and convenient international air travel,” said John L. Martin, Director of San Francisco International Airport. “We welcome visitors from our sister city, Sydney, and look forward to offering regularly scheduled Airbus flights and connections for all of our international visitors.”

The International Terminal features five gates that can be used by the A380 – three with double loading bridges and two with triple loading bridges. SFO was the first airport in the United States to offer triple loading bridges. The third loading bridge extends to the A380’s top deck, which allows the aircraft’s 500-plus passengers to be conveniently and directly loaded or off-loaded from the gate to the aircraft in 40 minutes – approximately the same time it takes to load a 747-400. Moreover, SFO can accommodate a rapid turnaround for the Airbus. SFO is the only airport in the United States with such a high level of built-in readiness.

Qantas currently offers daily nonstop service between SFO and Sydney on its 747-400 aircraft. The airline plans to bring its A380 aircraft to San Francisco on a regular basis in the next few years.

Bay Area Airport Capacity Study – Public Hearings Coming to a City Near You

Friday, May 7th, 2010

The Bay Area is running out of airport so a big study is going on to try to see what to do.

Maybe some of our smaller airfields could pick up some of the load, or maybe the military could pitch in, somehow.

Anyway, they’re holding public meetings soon so why don’t you get in on the fun?

 Monday, May 10, 2010, 7 pm – 9 pm
 Community Room
 Municipal Services Center
 33 Arroyo Drive, South San Francisco

 Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 7 pm – 9 pm
 First Floor, Multipurpose Room
 675 Texas Street, Fairfield

 Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 7 pm – 9 pm
 Port of Oakland Exhibit Room
 530 Water Street, Oakland

Are a lot more bigger airplanes in our future? How many 1000-passsenger Airbus A380-1000′s (or more realistically, 900-passenger A380-900′s) will we need?

A watery welcome for a big boy A380-800 (called El Gordo by pilotos) at SFO not too long ago:

At least there’s room for a horseshoe bar in a superjumbo. As seen over the Farallones:

If we can’t have more better runways at sometimes-foggy SFO, then look forward to ever bigger aircraft, for better or worse…

All right, see you there at those meetings.

All the deets, after the jump.

And here’s a comment from knowledgeable ActionNewsSF. (7500 Followers Can’t Be Wrong.)

ActionNewsSF says:
May 7, 2010 at 3:37 pm 

“Interesting topic. After reading this article, I spoke with an “aviation expert”. We both agreed that either Buchanan Field in Concord or the Livermore Airport makes the best sense. We were surprised that the Livermore Airport is not on this map. The challenges for both of these locations would be selling to the residents who live near the airports.

Livermore is a great location due to its proximity to Modesto, Stockton, and Sacramento. An upgrade to Highway 84 and Vasco Road could makes this a very attractive site.

Concord is a good location because it is on a BART line and close to Solano County, Stockton and Sacramento.

Moffett is too close to SFO and SJC.

Byron is too far for 580 and upgrading an airport there means we have to build more freeways and extend BART to the middle of nowhere.

Napa would mean major upgrades to Highways 29, 12, and 37. This airport would really only be able to serve Napa, Solano and possibly Sonoma Counties. There really is no major transit line that serves this area. You know what that means? 30 years after it’s built, we’ll have to spend billions extending BART across the Carquinez Strait and through Vallejo.

Travis AFB in Fairfield is a possibility, but really too far from the Greater Bay Area. Once again, this means major upgrades to an already congested I-80.

Hopefully existing infrastructure and having to deal with the restrictions of nearby residents, something San Jose has to deal with, will be considered. I also hope that any future project will not waste our money, as the MTC did recently by renaming the Translink card.”

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