Connect with us

Travel

Flying into history, the mighty Airbus A380

Tim Newton

Published

on

Flying into history, the mighty Airbus A380 | The Thaiger

In an era where airlines are now run by accountants instead of pioneers, aviators or passionate flyers, it’s no wonder we’re seeing the passing of an important aviation milestone this week.

The Airbus A380, a passenger favourite, failed to ignite the interest it needed to sustain new orders and and a continuation of the program of building, selling and servicing the world’s largest passenger aircraft. With its first flight in 2007, the demise of the program just 12 years later is a sad day for Airbus. Although they’ve largely paid for the enormous investment with the sales racked up to date, the company will fail to capitalise on the blood, sweat and tears of such an astonishing aviation engineering feat.

As of today, there are 313 firm orders from 16 customers for the passenger version of the A380-800. 234 have already been delivered to 13 customers as of last month (January 2019).

I recall seeing my first A380 at Melbourne ”Tullamarine” Airport back in 2007 when early-adopter QANTAS toured their first A380 around the nation’s airports. Compared to every other aircraft flying at the time, including the mighty ‘Jumbo Jet’, the Boeing 747 (the 747-400 was the popular model still flying at the time), the mega Airbus was a scene-stealer. It was enormous but also, as it limped off runways, a majestic beast that defied gravity.

To get such a mighty plane into the air, before it came to the end of existing runways, took a lot of refinement in wing design and new engines. But that was just the start – the things passengers wouldn’t really notice.

Inside, the proportions were astonishing. If configured as all-economy seating they could carry up to 800 passengers. No airline decided to go in that direction, instead setting up three-class configurations on the two floors of seating. Most airlines were carrying 450-500 passengers.

Ironically, the month that Airbus Industries announced to the world the end of the A380 program, it was also the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first Boeing Jumbo 747, the aircraft Airbus was hoping to eclipse in size, economy and passenger-carrying capacity. The Jumbo, being sold now as the 747-800, is still being manufactured, outlasting its European competitor.

Commercially, the superjumbo’s days are now numbered. The announcement from Airbus follows the cancellation of several orders by key airlines, principally the UAE Emirates and Japan’s ANA.

But with Airbus’ continuing mechanical and service support, the current A380s have potentially decades of flying ahead. We might still be able to enjoy their size, service and quietness into the 2040s, maybe beyond.

I flew on the A380 in Business, Premium Economy and Economy classes over a decade and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Whist the seating was really nothing exciting (the accountants made sure they were still packing in the seat), there was a sense of space unknown on any other aircraft.

But, for passengers, the most commonly noted experience on the A380 was the quietness. You could have a normal-voice conversation where usually you had to talk over the dull roar of the engines in other aircraft.

(This is in contrast with the noisiest passenger plane I ever flew on in the late 1960s, the British-built Vickers VC10. Touted as the ‘whisper jet’ of course it was noisiest plane around, especially if you sat down the back where the pairs of engines, mounted either side of the tail, made any conversation impossible.)

As the flying leviathan would thunder along the runways you are pushed back into your seat but there was little fuss or drama sitting inside. Although you hoped it would lift its nose before it go the end of the runway, there was little sense that you were accelerating to take-off speed.

Flying into history, the mighty Airbus A380 | News by The Thaiger

The promise of greater luxury in the sky was one of the selling points of the A380 for fliers used to the cramped conditions of smaller aircraft or tight seating configurations, even in bigger machines like the Boeing 747 and 777.

Beds, staterooms, bars, butlers, saunas – the start-up airlines trotted out the fancy configurations for first class customers. Of course 99.9% of flyers would, as usual, be crammed into the same same economy seats with the crying babies and queues at the toilets.

And, as memorable as a flight on the A380 would be, the food was always crap – all airline food is crap (has anyone actually chosen to fly one airline or another because they had better food?)

Whilst Airbus spent the last decade trying to convince world airlines that the A380 was the ‘future of aviation’, the designs were already on the drawing board for smaller, more flexible, nimble and economical aircraft before the first mega-Airbus got off the ground.

Boeing’s 787 program, its updated 777 and even Airbus’ own A350 were able to carry customers for lower cost-per-passenger than the A380. And that’s ALL that matters now.

Whilst it remains an inspiring, even beautiful, plane, the days of passion in the skies are over. The Juan Tripps and Howard Hughes – early aviators and businessmen who were behind the ‘ideas’ of the great aircrafts of the 40s, 50, 60s and 70s – no longer exist. Running an airline now is a cut-throat numbers game where passenger needs and comfort are the lowest priority.

The wonder of aviation, the joy of flying, the excitement of travel, is now replaced by long immigration cues, hordes of other passengers, cramped seating and crap food (I know, it’s just a bugbear of mine – I never touch the soggy rubbish served on planes).

So it’s a sad farewell to this majestic plane but, like opera diva Dame Nellie Melba, the mega-jet will be making many more appearances despite announcements of her retirement.

I hope you get the chance to fly on an Airbus A380 if you haven’t so far. And consider the dreams and skills that were employed to make this engineering marvel reach for the sky.

Flying into history, the mighty Airbus A380 | News by The Thaiger Flying into history, the mighty Airbus A380 | News by The Thaiger



Find more SE Asian News courtesy of The Thaiger.

Broke? Find employment in Southeast Asia with JobCute Thailand and SmartJob Indonesia. Rich? Invest in real estate across Asia with FazWaz Property Group or get out on a yacht anywhere with Boatcrowd. Even book medical procedures worldwide with MyMediTravel, all powered by DB Ventures.

Looking to jettison some items before jetsetting away or chartering a yacht? Look no further than Thaiger Classifieds where you can find and post items, work, property and more for free. Be sure to check out YonderTours for things to do in Thailand and tours across the country.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now CEO and writer for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He presented for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and provides stories for Feature Story News as the south east Asian correspondent.

Southeast Asia

Chinese, Taiwanese and Singaporeans dominate Asia’s cruise market

The Thaiger & The Nation

Published

on

Chinese, Taiwanese and Singaporeans dominate Asia’s cruise market | The Thaiger

Chinese travellers continue to dominate Asia’s passenger cruise market, but Taiwanese and Singaporeans aren’t far behind. This according to the 2018 Asia Cruise Industry Ocean Source Market Report.

Commissioned by the Cruise Lines International Association, the report looks at the growth, demographics and trends of the top source markets in Asia.

While China continues to dominate the passenger share of Asia, cruise passengers from Taiwan and Singapore have been steadily growing in numbers. Multiple source markets, many of which registered double-digit growths in 2018, contributed to Asia’s record-breaking 4.24 million ocean-going cruise passengers. Asia is the third largest cruise region after North America and Europe.

Asian cruise passengers have an estimated average age of 45.4 years, lower than the global average of 47 years. Only three markets show real divergence: India, a young 37-year average; Indonesia a 39-year average and Japan an older 57 years.

Asian cruise passengers predominantly sail in Asia with more than 50% (2,194,000) cruising in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Almost 40% (1,694,000) cruise in the rest of Asia.

Outside of Asia, the Mediterranean, Caribbean/South America, Baltics/Northern Europe, and Alaska were popular choices, in that order.

Shorter sailings remain the dominant choice of Asians, 89% of whom are sailing four to six nights with an average duration of 4.9 days.

SOURCE: TTR Weekly

Continue Reading

Thailand

Ministry looks at tourist levy to fund infrastructure

Kritsada Mueanhawong

Published

on

Ministry looks at tourist levy to fund infrastructure | The Thaiger

A tourist levy is being considered amongst a raft of changes to improve the amenity of local tourist attractions. The Tourism and Sports Ministry is floating the initiative after the National Tourism Policy Act was enacted and published in the Royal Gazette this week, according to the Bangkok Post.

The Ministry is now in talks with universities and insurance companies to research solutions that would provide additional funds but have minimal impact on the flow of tourists into Thailand.

This year the Ministry is predicting that 41 million travellers will visit Thailand.

Tourism remains a key economic driver in the Kingdom and has been on the rise for the past two decades. Last year Thailand welcomed 38 million foreign tourists contributing more than 2 trillion baht to the local economy. Local tourism contributed another 1 trillion baht.

The tourist levies would be used to rehabilitate different tourism sites across the country. The other expenditure would go towards new infrastructure. One such idea is to build a proper port for passenger cruise ships in the South.

Japan and Malaysia have slapped tourist levies or departure taxes on travellers.

Continue Reading

Koh Samui

Banyan Tree Samui goes ‘retro’ with the new Tuk-Tuk Bar

Kritsada Mueanhawong

Published

on

Banyan Tree Samui goes ‘retro’ with the new Tuk-Tuk Bar | The Thaiger

Banyan Tree Samui resort has opened what might be the quirkiest if not the cutest bar in Thailand,  a cocktail caravan remodelled from a classic 1960s tuk-tuk.

The MP4 Midget is virtually unseen on the streets of Thailand these days. But once upon a time, the “frogs”, as they were commonly nicknamed, were everywhere. Thousands of these 12 HP 350cc three-wheelers were manufactured by Japan’s Daihatsu company and exported to Thailand starting in 1959 to form a fleet of taxis nationwide.

This particular frog was discovered last year in the southern Thai port town of Trang by Banyan Tree Samui’s head chef Rainer Roersch, who says he sensed immediately that a novelty tuk-tuk would make for an ideal art installation on the Koh Samui beachfront.

Revived from retirement, and now dubbed the Froggy Sea Breeze Beach Bar, the emerald-green van today serves up cocktails, beers and spirits to Banyan Tree guests and non-guests alike in a quiet cove in the southeast of the island between the popular beaches of Chaweng and Lamai.

The Froggy Sea Breeze Beach bar is open from 5pm till 11pm every evening. Highly recommended is the sweet n’ sour Froggy Melon, garnished in mint leaves, or The Botanical, a gin and absinthe-infused cocktail guaranteed to kick-start any engine.

Tour Banyan Tree Samui HERE.

Banyan Tree Samui goes 'retro' with the new Tuk-Tuk Bar | News by The Thaiger Banyan Tree Samui goes 'retro' with the new Tuk-Tuk Bar | News by The Thaiger

Continue Reading

The Thaiger Newsletter

Keep up with all the day’s news. Subscribe here.

The latest news and information from Thailand.

* indicates required
[คลิป] “ธนาธร” มาแล้ว สวมชุดขาวร่วมพิธี “เปิดประชุมรัฐสภา” “พรรณิการ์-ปิยบุตร-ส.ส.อนาคตใหม่” มาด้วย : เลือกตั้ง 2562 | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง19 hours ago

[คลิป] “ธนาธร” มาแล้ว สวมชุดขาวร่วมพิธี “เปิดประชุมรัฐสภา” “พรรณิการ์-ปิยบุตร-ส.ส.อนาคตใหม่” มาด้วย : เลือกตั้ง 2562

ผลการแข่งขันนัดที่ 3 วันที่ 23-24 พ.ค. ทุกคู่ใน “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล20 hours ago

ผลการแข่งขันนัดที่ 3 วันที่ 23-24 พ.ค. ทุกคู่ใน “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019”

กางสถิติบล็อกโปแลนด์ ปังจนไทยแพ้ 3 เซตรวด “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 3 | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล22 hours ago

กางสถิติบล็อกโปแลนด์ ปังจนไทยแพ้ 3 เซตรวด “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” นัดที่ 3

24 พ.ค.62 ชมถ่ายทอดสด พระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวและสมเด็จพระนางเจ้าฯ พระบรมราชินี เสด็จฯ ทรงเปิดประชุมรัฐสภา | The Thaiger
ข่าวการเมือง23 hours ago

24 พ.ค.62 ชมถ่ายทอดสด พระบาทสมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวและสมเด็จพระนางเจ้าฯ พระบรมราชินี เสด็จฯ ทรงเปิดประชุมรัฐสภา

สรุปคำแถลง “ธนาธร จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ” ต่อคำวินิจฉัยของศาลรัฐธรรมนูญยุติหน้าที่ ส.ส. | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 6223 hours ago

สรุปคำแถลง “ธนาธร จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ” ต่อคำวินิจฉัยของศาลรัฐธรรมนูญยุติหน้าที่ ส.ส.

[Live] ธนาธร จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ แถลงกรณีศาลรัฐธรรมนูญรับวินิจฉัยปมถือหุ้นสื่อ | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 622 days ago

[Live] ธนาธร จึงรุ่งเรืองกิจ แถลงกรณีศาลรัฐธรรมนูญรับวินิจฉัยปมถือหุ้นสื่อ

พ่อทหารเกณฑ์ร้อง ลูกตายในค่ายปริศนา | The Thaiger
ข่าว2 days ago

พ่อทหารเกณฑ์ร้อง ลูกตายในค่ายปริศนา

เชียร์สด 23 พ.ค. วอลเลย์บอล ไทย-โปแลนด์ “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” – ช่องทางถ่ายทอดสด | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล2 days ago

เชียร์สด 23 พ.ค. วอลเลย์บอล ไทย-โปแลนด์ “วอลเลย์บอล เนชั่นส์ ลีก 2019” – ช่องทางถ่ายทอดสด

ลิซ่า BlackPink ต้องดู “ญาญ่า อุรัสยา” สุดร้อนแรง คัฟเวอร์ “Kill This Love” | The Thaiger
BLACKPINK2 days ago

ลิซ่า BlackPink ต้องดู “ญาญ่า อุรัสยา” สุดร้อนแรง คัฟเวอร์ “Kill This Love”

ตัวอย่างหนัง ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD โดยเจ้าพ่อหนังบู๊ “เควนติน” | The Thaiger
ตัวอย่าง3 days ago

ตัวอย่างหนัง ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD โดยเจ้าพ่อหนังบู๊ “เควนติน”

“มงคลกิตติ์” กร้าวฟ้องหมิ่นประมาท ทั้งอาญา-แพ่ง ขอเงิน 2 แสนหาเงินเข้าพรรค | The Thaiger
เลือกตั้ง 625 days ago

“มงคลกิตติ์” กร้าวฟ้องหมิ่นประมาท ทั้งอาญา-แพ่ง ขอเงิน 2 แสนหาเงินเข้าพรรค

ที่แท้เป็นเจ้าหน้าที่เทศบาล โมโหได้อาหารช้า เมากร่างควักปืนลูกซองขู่เจ้าของร้าน [คลิป] | The Thaiger
ภาคอีสาน5 days ago

ที่แท้เป็นเจ้าหน้าที่เทศบาล โมโหได้อาหารช้า เมากร่างควักปืนลูกซองขู่เจ้าของร้าน [คลิป]

ดูสดปิดมหากาพย์ชิงบัลลังก์ Game of thrones season 8 ตอนที่ 6 | The Thaiger
ฉายแล้ว5 days ago

ดูสดปิดมหากาพย์ชิงบัลลังก์ Game of thrones season 8 ตอนที่ 6

สะใจ! วอลเลย์บอลหญิงไทย U23 พลิกชนะเวียดนาม “วีทีวี บิญดิญ ลองอัน 2019”-คลิปย้อนหลัง | The Thaiger
วอลเลย์บอล6 days ago

สะใจ! วอลเลย์บอลหญิงไทย U23 พลิกชนะเวียดนาม “วีทีวี บิญดิญ ลองอัน 2019”-คลิปย้อนหลัง

“อาร์โนลด์ คนเหล็ก” โดนกระโดดถีบขาคู่ ระหว่างเซลฟี่แฟนคลับ นึกว่าแค่โดนชน | The Thaiger
ต่างประเทศ6 days ago

“อาร์โนลด์ คนเหล็ก” โดนกระโดดถีบขาคู่ ระหว่างเซลฟี่แฟนคลับ นึกว่าแค่โดนชน

Trending