Home > Uncategorized > Marketing the A 380..I think

Marketing the A 380..I think

Last week I was at the airport and looking out at an A380 glide towards the runway and got thinking about what it must have taken to get that plane into the world.
I am staying away from the technology aspect of the plane and look purely at the sales and marketing portion.

I recall reading, when the A380 was being designed, that Airbus Industrie and Boeing were betting on two different trends amongst passengers. Airbus believed that passengers would prefer to fly into and out of hubs. So flying from Asia to the US would involve a stop in Europe. Boeing on the other hand believed that passengers would prefer to fly point to point. This basis insight drove the creation of the two planes. A380 and variants out of Airbus. And the Dreamliner from Boeing.

Once Airbus decided on that strategy the next thing would’ve been to maximise passsengers flying between the points. (Of course this would be any airline’s objective, but Airbus decided to raise the game a notch).

Designers would have gone to work on creating a vehicle that could take the most number of passengers and I imagine many million dollars later the double decker plane was created. Somewhere during this process they would have brought in some airline companies to see the plane in making. If I was an airline CEO while I would have been excited at the design I’d need to see that this huge thing could fly and know the price tag.

Till here the situation is quite similar to bringing out any new product. You need to get your key customers involved. Only the scale of costs are much larger.

Once an airline shows interest, the discussion needs to move to the airport management.
The A380 needs longer runways, needs different aerobridges, bigger holding lounges among others infrastructural requirements.
From a staffing perspective, beyond the incremental staff on board the A380 has implications from check in counters, to boarding staff all the way to baggage conveyor belts.
And then the immigration authorities need to get involved as the number of passengers showing up once an A380 lands is double that of a normal plane. More staff are needed to get them through the airport without too much bother.

I am not getting into all the other things like fuel refilling, catering vans etc.

Just the thought that there are so many different bodies that need to not just agree, but have to spend incremental money to receive an A380.

Any point in time any one could decline and throw a spanner in the works.
All the time and effort spent in designing and building the airline could go waste.

If I were A380 I would approach airlines that had the greatest clout within its country to make the changes required. No surprise then Singapore Airlines and Emirates were two of the first buyers of A380.

I don’t think any other brand would have had such a long drawn and complicated process.
Not to mention incremental costs to be incurred by multiple parties. I wonder who paid for these costs.

The effort has paid off given the ‘premium-ness’ associated with the A 380.

The A380..not just a complex aircraft but also a complex sale.

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