The COVID 19 crisis has just completed two air transport mastodons. Two planes, with completely opposite careers.
Born at the same time as the Concorde, in 1969, the 747 is the aircraft, which, almost 50 years ago, truly democratized air transport, mass transport, allowing millions of travelers to discover the world at adorable rates. It was the great era of charter flights, embodied in France by the company Corsair, and its flights over the Antilles in the 90s. You fly to the destinations “Soleil”, aboard aircraft with evocative names, SEA , SEX, and SUN.
Until the coronavirus, Corsair was, in France, the last company to operate the Super Jumbo, with debonair paces, recognizable among all the others. Too fuel-hungry, Corsair planned to sell its three 747-400s next year. The health crisis has accelerated its exit, unfortunately through the back door. Sad end but unprecedented commercial success.
In 50 years, the family of 747, from 100 to 400 through the SP will have transported more than 3 billion 700 million passengers, more than half of the world population, and will have traveled 80 billion kilometers. To date, more than 1,550 Boeing 747s have been sold worldwide in its various versions.
Air France has decided to stop operating entirely. Airbus' strategic error and the end of France, of a saga started in June 1996, in an inn in Carcassonne between the European aircraft manufacturer and the representatives of 13 airlines.
Originally named A3XX, this twin-deck, four-jet aircraft was to carry up to 800 passengers between major megacities. At the time, Airbus executives had bet that, in the coming years, the airports would be saturated and that it was necessary to develop a policy of Hub, large platforms of correspondence and then to make the passengers leave to their final destinations on board smaller aircraft.
Conversely, we have witnessed the development of point to point, direct routes between more or less large cities. Furthermore, none of the companies which bought A380s exploited it to the maximum of its capacity, never more than 550 seats. Difficult, under these conditions, to make the giant of Airbus, a profitable plane.