Not entirely of course. But we’ve been talking to a senior person at Marsans today and he makes clear that a major motivation for this utterly unexpected piece of business was the desire to make Iberia look like a poor relative.I know it’s only four A380s. However, this use of the A380 as a marketing tool is not a trivial matter. That was the reason that I always believed that BA would include A380s in their mix (apart from traffic volume).
It’s the same for the 787 – you can discuss which is the more powerful marketing tool, but they each work in their way. The point about the A380 is that you definitely can’t use the 747-8 in that role. Watch the delivery to Singapore Airlines in Toulouse on Monday to get a taste of what to expect over the next few years.
Marsans is a strange company which is little known outside Spain and South America but which has repeatedly defied sceptics who have derided its ambitions. Those ambitions are huge – Marsans has successfuly hustled its way into South America – a part of the world where Iberia’s conduct actually managed to provoke street demonstrations.
Its new plans are pretty breathtaking – involving fielding A380s, A350s, A330s and 42 A320s across Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Comet and a clutch of smaller South American affiliates. But the Airbus agreement is only an MOU, and Marsans is telling its South American workforce that the aircraft will be coming only if they sign up to a long-term labour agreement.
But in order to build its transatlantic empire it needs to punch above its weight against Iberia – and the A380 is just the ticket for that.