Click above for a story from today's Chicago Sun-Times regarding the new Airbus A380 super jumbo airplane. They note that
"It's one thing to build a really, really big airplane. It's quite another to find a place for it to land.
U.S. airports from Seattle to Atlanta say accommodating Airbus SAS's new superjumbo A380 in anything other than an emergency would require major construction. Runways would need widening and terminals would need upgrades to load and unload the double-decker plane easily.
Even with those improvements, airports might need to curtail other airport traffic to let the big jet lumber through the airfield. And some officials worry the weight of the A380 would collapse tunnels and buckle overpasses.
What's more, some airport officials say they just aren't seeing the demand for the A380 that would warrant such cost and inconvenience.
...The Federal Aviation Administration says just four U.S. airports-- John F. Kennedy in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami-- are formally working with regulators on plans to accept the new plane for passengers. Another two-- Anchorage and Memphis-- are working with the FAA to take the cargo version.
...At Chicago's O'Hare, spokeswoman Annette Martinez said the airport is working on interim changes that will enable it to accommodate the plane by the end of 2007, while hoping for approval of a big expansion that would make it practical to take the A380 in the long term."
So do you see the FAA spending taxpayer money to build up the marketability of a Boeing rival in Boeing's corporate hometown, or will they suggest meeting the 21st Century by inviting our European friends to fly their plane to a brand new airport in Peotone, Illinois? And to think such an airport would also earn some political support from the black community through the good offices of Jesse Jackson Jr. A twofer!
Update 5:31 AM 2/14/05 - Toni has posted a comment (Hi Toni!). But let us try to make a silk purse out of a French sow's ear! We make Peotone an air cargo distribution airport in a manner similar to the way Memphis is the Fedex hub and Louisville is the UPS hub. All that high priority air cargo from China flies into Peotone, once a day. The otherwise empty plane returns to China carrying American products at bargain freight rates (this is how South American products such as flowers and fruit got a foothold in America, all those otherwise empty air cargo planes flew the products here cheaply). One flight in, then one flight out per day! Now once the stuff is here, it needs to be distributed! So we pack it into 787 freighters and send it out again with a single daily flight each way. In the process, we develop a cargo market for the 787, which can be used to amortize the cost of designing and building an Air Force tanker version of the 787. So to accommodate our European Amis, we strengthen the competitive advantage of a major Illinois company. Viva La France! Viva La Difference!