Learning English - Words in the News
26 October, 2007 - Published 10:57 GMT
Super jumbo's first commercial flight
The world's biggest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, has landed in Sydney at the end of its first commercial flight from Singapore. The aircraft can carry about 850 passengers and Airbus hopes it will replace the Boeing 747 - the original jumbo that's been in service since the 1970s. This report from Mark Gregory:
The Airbus super jumbo is a remarkable engineering achievement but its commercial success is far from guaranteed. So far Airbus has less than half the 420 orders it says it needs to break even. The company must sell more than that to turn a profit on billions of dollars of investment.
Meanwhile Boeing has secured over 700 orders for its new plane the 787 Dreamliner. This looks certain to be a money spinner, even though the manufacturer has delayed the first deliveries by six months.
The two planes are crucial to the futures of Airbus and Boeing but they are very different. The Airbus A380 is designed to fly large numbers of passengers between hub airports. The Boeing carries fewer people and is built to be cost efficient on routes between lesser airports - the idea being that business travellers will pay more to fly directly to their final destination rather than going via a hub.
Many, but not all, analysts believe the market is big enough for both planes to succeed. The saving grace for the Airbus A380 could be the explosion of air travel within Asia. A big plane makes sense in a continent where populations are large and travel demand is growing fast.
Mark Gregory, BBC
a remarkable engineering achievement
to break even
to turn a profit on
to be a money spinner
has delayed the first deliveries by six months
to be cost efficient
The saving grace