A380 will take a lot of learning While the rest of the aviation world has welcomed the introduction of the Airbus A380, as a seasonal traveller, I wonder if due consideration has been made to the logistics of managing up to 800 passengers and to the more important aspect of safety. None of the international airports that I frequently visit have check-in facilities to handle such a volume of passengers. I suspect that the queues for an A380 will be enormous. At the destination, offloading 800 passengers will be a real challenge. Getting all the bags to the carousel within a reasonable time will be another challenge. A for safety, the manufacturers normally use fit volunteers to demonstrate to their civil aviation authority the evacuation capability of their aircraft. Staff are aircraft orientated and know how to open doors, use slides and the like. The manufacturers do not normally take into account mothers with two small children, elderly, slow moving, overweight passengers or those who do not pay attention or even understand the safety briefing because of inattention or language difficulties. Because of the size and weight, many airports will not be able to accept the A380. In the event of a diversion, passengers may well find themselves a long way from their intended destination. The introduction of new aircraft always produces a steep learning curve for all involved over the first five years. Not just the pilots at the sharp end who often get the blame for what has gone wrong, but all the rest of the people involved-the designers, the manufacturers, the civil aviation authorities, the training staff, the dispatchers, flight attendants, co-pilots and captains. I hope the curve will be adequately contained. Peter Gray Redhill, Surrey, UK
The real cost of an aircraft A study funded by Boeing alleges that each Airbus A380 costs a couple of hundred million dollars to build, but is selling for less than three-quarters as much. This is nonsense on at least two counts. In these days of computers and automation, very little is dear to manufacture – what is expensive is the design and its proving, plus all the necessary facilities. Imagine that Airbus and its engine and electronics and other suppliers, and their sub- and sub-sub- and sub-sub-sub-contractors, were ring-fenced. How much would have to be brought in to build an extra A380? I doubt the bill would reach eight figures. While plant has to be amortised and R&D financed, Airbus gains by selling at any higher price – which does not mean it should not obtain as much as the market will bear, it has the right and indeed is under a duty to do just this. From another angle, the only way the building cost can be inflated so enormously is by the inclusion of every conceivable overhead. A great part of the expenditure on the European airliner (and space) industry must be met with the A380 or without it – which means it is not properly attributable to this aircraft. This "research" is a political ploy that damages its authors far more than Airbus. Noel Falconer Couiza, France
WTO has a point Although we enjoyed a good laugh at your generous – but erroneous – speculation about 787 order announcements and Boeing's quarterly earnings release being timed to upstage the Airbus A380's first flight, we feel the need to address the serious side of your editorial, "Sort it out please" (Flight International, 2-8 May). Your position that taking the aircraft subsidies dispute to the World Trade Organisation is "a pointless and wasteful exercise" is remarkable considering that the WTO was created precisely for deciding such disputes. You describe WTO action as "mindlessly threatening". Not so, when the evidence documents the billions of euros and pounds in prohibited subsidies Airbus has received. Your editorial title pleads "Sort it out" – Boeing supports the US government's efforts to do just that. Charlie Miller Boeing, London, UK
Farewell to a dream I did not think this would happen – the beautiful sexy machine that Boeing has sold to the airlines will look like any other machine on the ramp (Flight International, 3-9 May). I would love to know the reaction in the boards of the airlines that have ordered this dream. By the way, anhedral is what the Avro RJ has, dihedral is what Billy Boeing has always used on its airliners. Mike Fuller Gatwick, Sussex, UK Editor's reply: Thanks to the many readers who pointed out our mix-up over anhedrals and dihedrals.
Fly an Airbus? No thanks I have flown Boeings for almost 30 years, so I could be biased. But after the latest mishap to an Airbus – the Virgin A340-600 engine shutdown on 8 February – I cannot agree more with David Connolly (Flight International, 12-18 April). With good old Boeing, what you see is what you get. Convert to an Airbus – no thank you. Ali Rasheed Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK
Source: Flight International