First Airbus seats to be auctioned for charity
On eBay, of course
The airline which will operate the first passenger flight of the Airbus A380 super-jumbo jet is to auction the seats online.
Singapore Airlines has announced that all proceeds will go to charity. The places will be offered on everyone's favourite internet jumbleshop, eBay.
"Be a part of history," says the company release. "Bid to be first to fly on the A380."
The inaugural flight of the double-decker plane is planned for October, and will be a return trip from Singapore to Sydney.
"The first commercial A380 flight will be a moment in aviation history," said Chew Choon Seng, Singapore Airlines CEO.
"It will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, on an aircraft that will mark a new chapter in air travel. And while we will celebrate the event, we also wish to remember the people who are less fortunate and can be assisted by the charities to which all the proceeds will go."
Singapore Airlines will provide the plane free as a goodwill gesture, and ExxonMobil will supply free fuel.
eBay will "subsidise the fees and charges from this auction", and its money-transfer arm PayPal will "rebate a portion of its fees and charges to help support the charities".
Money raised will go one third each to the Singapore Community Chest, childrens' hospitals in Australia, and to global med-relief agency Médecins Sans Frontières.
Exact schedule details will be released "soon, after final notification from Airbus about the delivery date". The eBay auctions are expected to take place some weeks prior to the flight. ®
Call me Elmer
I've never been accused of spreading FUD before. I guess I can check that one off my list.
I'm sure there's plenty of excellent engineering that went into the A380, but when you come down to it, it's just a big plane. Antonov builds 'em bigger, not that I'd want to go on a very long flight on one.
The 787 doesn't just have reduced emissions via new engines, it has greater fuel economy due to being the first carbon fiber airliner, plus a focus on economy throughout the design process. So for me, it's clear which plane which plane is a great achievement in traditional aircraft design and which one is defining the new direction for future design. That's the difference between engineering and innovation.
I also remain skeptical that there's enough of a market for ginormous people movers for the A380 program to be very successful. The efficiencies realized by the economy of scale might not actually fit the travel needs of real human beings that much. The 747 doesn't really sell that well anymore for just this reason.
When we flew short haul last month Boeing out and Airbus back, my wife and I noticed a significant difference in seat ergonomics. On the Boeing breastfeeding our son was straightforward (as much as it can be on a plane!), but the Airbus armrests and windows were all in far worse positions, making it significantly harder. Of course the delays didn't help either. Perhaps Airbus can address this for the A380 by including a baby friendly section.
Too many passengers
The ability of the A380 to carry 800+ passengers is great, until they start dropping out of the sky. An accident involving one of these aircraft would likely cause more casualties than the Tenerife disaster - in 1 fell swoop.