Airbus turbulence

I bought The Times as well as the Guardian and the Financial Times this morning (mainly because it was giving away a DVD of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis). There was a feature on the forthcoming Airbus 380 with lots of cod statistics (like: it holds enough fuel to fill 21 road tankers, and its interior volume would enable it to hold 44 million ping-pong balls, yawn), but also an interesting note from the paper’s Transport Correspondent, Ben Webster.

Airbus is struggling to persuade international regulators that the double-decker will not cause dangerous turbulence for planes following in its wake.

In a preliminary ruling, the International Civil Aviation Organisation has said that there must be an 11-mile gap between an A380 and any aircraft landing behind it. That is double the distance for a Boeing 747 and at a stroke would destroy the business case for the A380.

Airbus says that the A380 will solve capacity problems at many of the world’s leading airports, especially Heathrow, by delivering up to 600 passengers for each landing slot. But if the ICAO ruling stands, the A380 will actually reduce the capacity of any airport it uses…