Despite the woes of the domestic aviation industry, a new type of plane is finally coming into mass service across the globe. Airbus’ much publicized and long delayed A380 hit the skies down under in Australia this week. Singapore Airlines was the first to launch earlier this year, and Dubai based Emirates airlines start services on the new flights in a couple of months. The A380, the worlds biggest passenger aircraft, is already predicted by airline experts to dominate the international skies thanks to its ability to carry more passengers coupled with greater fuel efficiency.
As a technology consultant in the past who flew a lot for work, I always liked the luxurious side of flying – the business class upgrades, airport lounges and special lines for frequent fliers. Alas with a young family my days of travelling luxuriously on the company dime are far behind me, but seeing pictures of the first class cabins and suites on the new A380 brings back memories (or wishes of) flying in style. Paying the average $15,000 first class fare though is a bit much for me, but if I was to fly in luxury I sure would like to fly on the A380. Here are some of the new A380 features that I do like:
– Double beds and showers in the first class suites (on Emirates). Yes private suites on a plane! So on those 14 hour international flights you can take that long shower and no one can say anything. You even have a social area where business class and first class passengers can have a drink or two.
– Airbus says the plane can seat 525 passengers in three classes. This is almost 100 more than the next largest and most operated long haul flight the Boeing 747. Most airlines are reconfiguring the seating capacity though to target different market segments. – Because the plane is so big, airports have had to extend existing runways and install custom sky bridges to handle these planes. So only expect these planes at the biggest and best airports.So when will we see the A380 in the USA? The first commercial service will launch on October 20 from Melbourne to Los Angeles.
– Economy class seats are almost as good as those on United or American domestic business class aircraft (anecdotal evidence). Further, economy passengers have access to on board entertainment and services which include in-flight email and SMS, 100 movies on-demand, 50 on-demand television channels, 350 audio channels, and 40 electronic games. All on a nice 17″ individual screen.
My final topic in this longish post is to point out an interesting annual report from Technorati on the state of the blogosphere. It looks like it was a great year for blogging which continues to grow at a rapid pace as the graphic shows. From a revenue perspective, slightly more than 50% of blogs have advertising on their sites (less than I thought). Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800 (not if you include the cost of the time spent writing and managing blogs), but it’s paying off.
The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month (i.e the big boys/gals of blogging!). Bloggers are sophisticated in using self serve tools for search, display, and affiliate advertising, and are increasingly turning to ad and blog networks. Worth scanning the entire report if you have a chance