This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

How the Airbus A380 Squeezes into the U.S. Airline Model

But US airlines' passengers fly regularly on the A380. American code shares with Qantas on flights from Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne. United (UAL - Get Report) code shares with Lufthansa on A380 joint venture flights from Frankfurt to Miami and San Francisco.

Mann says he is surprised at the high number of A380s that have been sold -- Airbus has taken orders for 253 and delivered 69 -- and at the array of U.S. airports. "I would not have expected to see some of the non slot-restricted airports you see today," he says. "I underestimated the impact of joint ventures and antitrust immunity."

Initially, many experts assumed the principal A380 routes would involve congested, slot-controlled airports such as London Heathrow, Tokyo Narita and Kennedy. Of course, Mann notes, once airlines buy A380s, "They have to put them somewhere." In the U.S., he says, the only real choices are major international gateways and major hubs.

One thing experts find unsurprising is that no U.S. airline has ordered an A380. "It simply doesn't fill the needs of U.S. carriers, as opposed to flag carriers of other nations," aviation consultant Scott Hamilton says. "You have so many interior cities in the U.S. that now have [non-stop] overseas service." Before deregulation and a profusion of Open Skies treaties, nearly all U.S. international service originated in a handful of coastal airports. Besides, Hamilton says, U.S. passengers prefer more flights throughout the day to fewer flights on bigger airplanes.

Hamilton says the A380 is "technically a great airplane, but because of delays and other problems, it is still a cash drain on Airbus." One problem, he says, is that it came to market at the wrong time, just before the start of a global recession. "But the market is growing into the A380, just as it grew into the 747," he says.

For the A380 to fly to the U.S., airports -- such as Atlanta -- must make accommodations. Today, of the top seven U.S. international gateways, only Chicago O'Hare and Newark do not have A380 flights. A planned O'Hare construction project includes 2013 completion of a runway that can handle large aircraft including the A380 and the Boeing (BA - Get Report) 747-8, airport spokeswoman Karen Pride says.

Miami International spent $4 million to prepare for Lufthansa's daily A380 service to Frankfurt, which began in June. The aircraft is operated seasonally for European sun-seekers. From June through September, the load factor was 89%, airport spokesman Greg Chin says. "No other airline has officially informed us yet that they will be using the A380 at MIA, but a few have expressed interest," Chin says.

At Boston Logan, attention is focused on another new aircraft, the Boeing 787.

On April 22, Japan Airlines will begin Tokyo-Boston 787 service. "Midmarket airlines like Logan are better suited for long international routes with a plane the size of the 787, rather than the A380," airport spokesman Matt Brelis says. Nevertheless, the A380 has landed a couple of times at Logan due to weather-related diversions from Kennedy, and passengers have been able to disembark.

A Korean Air spokeswoman did not return phone calls.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
BA $132.49 -1.13%
DAL $42.92 1.78%
UAL $47.13 1.01%
AAPL $95.18 1.64%
FB $117.43 -0.96%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,750.91 -140.25 -0.78%
S&P 500 2,063.37 -18.06 -0.87%
NASDAQ 4,763.2240 -54.37 -1.13%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs