Market Presence. The B747-400 still represents the core of many major carriers fleets around the world. Performance, economy and capacity have, until recently, been unmatched and had become the baseline by which all other types are judged. In designing the A380, Airbus had to reduce operating costs by some 10-15 percent compared to the B747-400, a task that proved difficult even with the aid of a greater seating capacity. Despite the positive attributes of the type, the early years of this decade saw an erosion of traditional B747-400 values as a result of a changing market structure, difficult trading conditions and an ageing product life cycle. The misfortune had been fully reversed with prices registering a major improvement only to more recently suffer another significant fall. Alternative widebodies, albeit with lower capacities but featuring similar business class opportunities, have proved popular on new and existing routes where operators have sought yield improvement rather than market share. The delay in the service entry of the A380 and the demand for feedstock for the B747-400 conversion program as well a recovery in premium traffic clearly benefited both values and lease rentals but the lack of traffic has now forced the parking of many examples.
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