This morning a friend and I caught up with others from the Redcliffe Aeroclub, and three aircraft with eager passengers flew into Brisbane international airport to welcome the arrival of the Airbus A380. Photos are in the Gallery.
A reasonable crowd accumulated at the airport and the media had a significant presence, as this was not only the first A380 to arrive in Australia, but the first to land anywhere in the southern hemisphere. A humble yet historic moment.
Yet most people just wanted to see the 'really big plane' which in the flesh only has a little more 'presence' than a Boeing 747, yet what most managed to miss is that this Aircraft represents a whole lot more than advancement in aerospace technology.
The A380 is a visible sign of the struggle and decline of the US as the primary economic global power and the gradual rise of Europe. This annoys the stuffings out of many commentators in the US, and they've been rather vocal about it. The USD being less valuable than the Euro was embarrassing enough.
Outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warns that investors in the U.S. economy may be less willing to buy U.S. securities and government bonds. That in turn could have an upward effect on U.S. interest rates affecting everything from home-buying and car-buying to monthly credit card bills.
In the past, sales of Boeing aircraft kept a healthy stream of export dollars flowing into the US economy. Now, each time and airline purchases an A380, $218 million goes elsewhere. Currently 159 A380's have been ordered with options on another 70, this is before any have been put into service. 2003 was the first time Airbus sold more aircraft than Boeing, and that's expected to be the case this year also.
From an airlines perspective, the A380 can enable them to cut operating costs by as much as 20 percent, while providing passengers with more room and comfort.
The US economy used to also benefit significantly from fighter aircraft sales to Europe. Fighter aircraft across Europe are now more likely to be home grown.
The old American attitude of "if it's good for the US, then it's good for the rest of the world" has long been resented by much of the rest of the world. The difference in today's environment is that the EU is slowly becoming a more powerful economic force than the US, but not without vigorous complaints, FUDing and barefaced rudeness from Uncle Sam.
More commercial satellites are launched by Europe than the US also. A curious fact.
The history of the Airbus A380 is yet to play out, and harkens back to the early days when European (British & French) jet airliners were dominant, but what is already evident is that the US despise it, and the rest of the world see it as a veiled sign of change.