Airbus A380
Overview
 
The Airbus A380 is a double-deck
Double-deck aircraft
A Double-deck aircraft has two decks for passengers; the second deck may be only a partial deck, and may be above or below the main deck. Almost all commercial aircraft have one passenger deck and one cargo deck for luggage and ULD containers, but only a few have two decks for passengers,...

, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner
Jet airliner
A jet airliner is an airliner that is powered by jet engines. This term is sometimes contracted to jetliner or jet.In contrast to today's relatively fuel-efficient, turbofan-powered air travel, first generation jet airliner travel was noisy and fuel inefficient...

 manufactured by the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an corporation Airbus
Airbus
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, surburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners....

, a subsidiary of EADS
EADS
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. is a global pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defence and military contractor worldwide...

. It is the largest passenger airliner in the world. Due to its size, many airports had to modify and improve facilities to accommodate it. Designed to challenge Boeing's monopoly in the large-aircraft market, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 and entered commercial service in October 2007 with Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Limited is the flag carrier airline of Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets...

.
Encyclopedia
The Airbus A380 is a double-deck
Double-deck aircraft
A Double-deck aircraft has two decks for passengers; the second deck may be only a partial deck, and may be above or below the main deck. Almost all commercial aircraft have one passenger deck and one cargo deck for luggage and ULD containers, but only a few have two decks for passengers,...

, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner
Jet airliner
A jet airliner is an airliner that is powered by jet engines. This term is sometimes contracted to jetliner or jet.In contrast to today's relatively fuel-efficient, turbofan-powered air travel, first generation jet airliner travel was noisy and fuel inefficient...

 manufactured by the Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an corporation Airbus
Airbus
Airbus SAS is an aircraft manufacturing subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. Based in Blagnac, France, surburb of Toulouse, and with significant activity across Europe, the company produces around half of the world's jet airliners....

, a subsidiary of EADS
EADS
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. is a global pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defence and military contractor worldwide...

. It is the largest passenger airliner in the world. Due to its size, many airports had to modify and improve facilities to accommodate it. Designed to challenge Boeing's monopoly in the large-aircraft market, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 and entered commercial service in October 2007 with Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Limited is the flag carrier airline of Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets...

. The aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX during much of its development, before receiving the A380 designation. The nickname Superjumbo has since become associated with it.

The A380's upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage
Fuselage
The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

, and its width is equivalent to that of a wide-body aircraft. This allows for an A380-800's cabin with 478 square metres (5,145.1 sq ft) of floor space; 49% more floor space than the current next-largest airliner, the Boeing 747-400
Boeing 747-400
The Boeing 747-400 is a major development and the best-selling model of the Boeing 747 family of jet airliners. While retaining the four-engine wide-body layout of its predecessors, the 747-400 embodies numerous technological and structural changes to produce a more efficient airframe...

 with 321 square metres (3,455.2 sq ft), and provides seating for 525 people in a typical three-class
Travel class
A travel class is a quality of accommodation on public transport. The accommodation could be a seat or a cabin for example. Higher travel classes are more comfortable and more expensive.-Airline booking codes:...

 configuration or up to 853 people in all-economy class
Economy class
__FORCETOC__Economy class, also called coach class , steerage, or standard class, is the lowest class of seating in air travel, rail travel, and sometimes ferry or maritime travel....

 configurations. The A380-800 has a design range
Range (aircraft)
The maximal total range is the distance an aircraft can fly between takeoff and landing, as limited by fuel capacity in powered aircraft, or cross-country speed and environmental conditions in unpowered aircraft....

 of 15400 km (8,315.3 nmi; 9,569.1 mi), sufficient to fly from New York to Hong Kong for example, and a cruising speed of Mach
Mach number
Mach number is the speed of an object moving through air, or any other fluid substance, divided by the speed of sound as it is in that substance for its particular physical conditions, including those of temperature and pressure...

 0.85 (about 900 km/h or 559.2 mph at cruising altitude).

there had been 238 firm orders for the A380, of which 62 have been delivered. The largest order, for 90 aircraft, was from Emirates.

Background

In the summer of 1988, a group of Airbus engineers led by Jean Roeder began work in secret on the development of an ultra-high-capacity airliner (UHCA), both to complete its own range of products and to break the dominance that Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

 had enjoyed in this market segment since the early 1970s with its 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

. McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. It formed from a merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967. McDonnell Douglas was based at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport...

 unsuccessfully offered its smaller, double-deck MD-12
McDonnell Douglas MD-12
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Steffen, Arthur. McDonnell Douglas MD-11: A Long Beach Swansong. Hinckley, UK: Midland, 2002. ISBN 1-85780-117-2.-External links:* * * *...

 concept for sale. Roeder was given approval for further evaluations of the UHCA after a formal presentation to the President and CEO in June 1990. The megaproject
Megaproject
A megaproject is an extremely large-scale investment project. Megaprojects are typically defined as costing more than US$1 billion and attracting a lot of public attention because of substantial impacts on communities, environment, and budgets. Megaprojects can also be defined as "initiatives that...

 was announced at the 1990 Farnborough Air Show
Farnborough Air Show
The Farnborough International Airshow is a seven-day international trade fair for the aerospace industry which is held in even-numbered years in mid-July at Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire, England....

, with the stated goal of 15% lower operating costs than the 747-400. Airbus organised four teams of designers, one from each of its partners (Aérospatiale
Aérospatiale
Aérospatiale was a French aerospace manufacturer that built both civilian and military aircraft, rockets and satellites. It was originally known as Société Nationale Industrielle Aérospatiale...

, Deutsche Aerospace AG, British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

, CASA) to propose new technologies for its future aircraft designs. The designs would be presented in 1992 and the most competitive designs would be used.

In January 1993, Boeing and several companies in the Airbus consortium started a joint feasibility study of an aircraft known as the Very Large Commercial Transport (VLCT), aiming to form a partnership to share the limited market. This joint study was abandoned two years later, Boeing's interest having declined because analysts thought that such a product was unlikely to cover the $15-billion in development costs. Despite the fact that only two airlines had expressed public interest in purchasing such a plane, Airbus was already pursuing its own large plane project. Analysts suggested that Boeing instead would pursue stretching their 747 design, and that air travel was already moving away from the hub and spoke
Spoke-hub distribution paradigm
The hub-and-spoke distribution paradigm is a system of connections arranged like a chariot wheel, in which all traffic moves along spokes connected to the hub at the center...

 system that consolidated traffic into large planes, and toward more non-stop routes that could be served by smaller planes.

In June 1994, Airbus began developing its own very large airliner, designated the A3XX. Airbus considered several designs, including an odd side-by-side combination of two fuselages from the A340
Airbus A340
The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engine wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner. Developed by Airbus Industrie,A consortium of European aerospace companies, Airbus is now fully owned by EADS and since 2001 has been known as Airbus SAS. a consortium of European aerospace companies, which is...

, which was Airbus’s largest jet at the time. The A3XX was pitted against the VLCT study and Boeing’s own New Large Aircraft
Boeing NLA
The Boeing NLA, or New Large Airplane, was a 1990s concept for an all-new airliner in the 500+ seat market. Somewhat larger than the 747, this aircraft was similar in concept to the McDonnell Douglas MD-12 and later Airbus A380...

 successor to the 747. From 1997 to 2000, as the East Asian financial crisis
East Asian financial crisis
The Asian financial crisis was a period of financial crisis that gripped much of Asia beginning in July 1997, and raised fears of a worldwide economic meltdown due to financial contagion....

 darkened the market outlook, Airbus refined its design, targeting a 15 to 20% reduction in operating costs over the existing Boeing 747–400. The A3XX design converged on a double-decker layout that provided more passenger volume than a traditional single-deck design, in line with traditional hub-and-spoke
Spoke-hub distribution paradigm
The hub-and-spoke distribution paradigm is a system of connections arranged like a chariot wheel, in which all traffic moves along spokes connected to the hub at the center...

 theory as opposed to the point-to-point theory
Point-to-point transit
Point-to-point transit refers to a transportation system where a plane, bus or train travels directly to a destination, rather than going through a central hub...

 of the Boeing 777
Boeing 777
The Boeing 777 is a long-range, wide-body twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet and is commonly referred to as the "Triple Seven". The aircraft has seating for over 300 passengers and has a range from , depending on model...

, after conducting an extensive market analysis with over 200 focus group
Focus group
A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging...

s.

On 19 December 2000, the supervisory board of newly restructured Airbus voted to launch a €8.8-billion programme to build the A3XX, re-christened as the A380, with 50 firm orders from six launch customers. The A380 designation was a break from previous Airbus families, which had progressed sequentially from A300 to A340. It was chosen because the number 8 resembles the double-deck cross section, and is a lucky number in some Asian countries where the aircraft was being marketed. The aircraft’s configuration was finalised in early 2001, and manufacturing of the first A380 wing box component started on 23 January 2002. The development cost of the A380 had grown to €11 billion when the first aircraft was completed.

Production

Major structural sections of the A380 are built in France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Due to their size, they are brought to the assembly hall (the Jean-Luc Lagardère Plant) in Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

 in France by surface transportation, though some parts are moved by the A300-600ST Beluga
Airbus Beluga
-External links:*...

 aircraft used in the construction of other Airbus models. Components of the A380 are provided by suppliers from around the world; the five largest contributors, by value, are Rolls-Royce
Rolls-Royce plc
Rolls-Royce Group plc is a global power systems company headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines , and also has major businesses in the marine propulsion and energy sectors. Through its defence-related activities...

, Safran
SAFRAN
Safran is a French conglomerate involved in defense, aerospace propulsion and equipment, and security. It is the result of a merger between the propulsion and aerospace equipment group SNECMA and the defense conglomerate SAGEM. Its headquarters are located in Paris.The name Safran, literally...

, United Technologies
United Technologies Corporation
United Technologies Corporation is an American multinational conglomerate headquartered in the United Technologies Building in Hartford, Connecticut...

, General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 and Goodrich
Goodrich Corporation
The Goodrich Corporation , formerly the B.F. Goodrich Company, is an American aerospace manufacturing company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in Akron, Ohio in 1870 as Goodrich, Tew & Co. by Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich. The company name was changed to the "B.F...

.

For the surface movement of large A380 structural components, a complex route known as the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit
Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit
The Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit is a water and road route that has been created in order to allow the transport of the outsize structural sections of the Airbus A380 airliner from their point of manufacture to Toulouse for final assembly. The route was largely created by modifying existing waterways...

 was developed. This involved the construction of a fleet of roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships and barges, the construction of port facilities and the development of new and modified roads to accommodate oversized road convoys. The front and rear sections of the fuselage are loaded onto one of three roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships in Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 in northern Germany, from where they are shipped to the United Kingdom.

The wings, which are manufactured at Filton
Filton
Filton is a town in South Gloucestershire, England, situated on the northern outskirts of the city of Bristol, about from the city centre. Filton lies in Bristol postcode areas BS7 and BS34. The town centres upon Filton Church, which dates back to the 12th century and is a grade II listed building...

 in Bristol and Broughton
Broughton, Flintshire
Broughton is a small district in Flintshire, Wales, close to the Wales–England border and located to the west of the City of Chester, England. Along with the nearby village of Bretton, the total population was 5,791 at the 2001 Census....

 in North Wales, are transported by barge
Barge
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

 to Mostyn
Mostyn
Mostyn is a small village in Flintshire, North Wales, lying on the estuary of the River Dee, and located near the town of Holywell.Mostyn once served as a port from which ferries used to sail to Dublin on the Liverpool-Dublin route...

 docks, where the ship adds them to its cargo. In Saint-Nazaire
Saint-Nazaire
Saint-Nazaire , is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France.The town has a major harbour, on the right bank of the Loire River estuary, near the Atlantic Ocean. The town is at the south of the second-largest swamp in France, called "la Brière"...

 in western France, the ship trades the fuselage sections from Hamburg for larger, assembled sections, some of which include the nose. The ship unloads in Bordeaux
Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the Gironde department in southwestern France.The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture...

. Afterwards, the ship picks up the belly and tail sections by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA
Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA
Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA , was a Spanish aircraft manufacturer. It became EADS CASA the Spanish branch of EADS in 1999, but was absorbed by Airbus Military in 2009...

 in Cádiz
Cádiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

 in southern Spain, and delivers them to Bordeaux. From there, the A380 parts are transported by barge to Langon
Langon, Gironde
Langon is a commune in the Gironde department in Aquitaine in southwestern France.-Geography:Langon is in the southern part of the department southeast of Bordeaux on the left bank of the Garonne river...

, and by oversize road convoys to the assembly hall in Toulouse
Toulouse
Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

.

After assembly, the aircraft are flown to Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW) to be furnished and painted. It takes 3600 l (951 US gal) of paint to cover the 3100 m² (33,368.1 sq ft) exterior of an A380. Airbus sized the production facilities and supply chain
Supply chain
A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer. Supply chain activities transform natural resources, raw materials and components into a finished product that is delivered to...

 for a production rate of four A380s per month.

Testing

Five A380s were built for testing and demonstration purposes. The first A380, serial number MSN001 and registration F-WWOW, was unveiled at a ceremony in Toulouse on 18 January 2005. Its maiden flight took place at 8:29 UTC (10:29 am local time) 27 April 2005. This plane, equipped with Trent 900 engines, flew from Toulouse Blagnac International Airport
Toulouse Blagnac International Airport
Toulouse Blagnac Airport or Aéroport de Toulouse - Blagnac is an airport located west northwest of Toulouse, just south of Blagnac, both communes of the Haute-Garonne département in the Midi-Pyrénées région of France....

 with a crew of six headed by chief test pilot
Test pilot
A test pilot is an aviator who flies new and modified aircraft in specific maneuvers, known as flight test techniques or FTTs, allowing the results to be measured and the design to be evaluated....

 Jacques Rosay
Jacques Rosay
Jacques Rosay is Vice President Chief Test Pilot of the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. He has performed the maiden flights of several Airbus airliners, including the A318, A340-500, and A380 Superjumbo...

. After landing three hours and 54 minutes later, Rosay said flying the A380 had been “like handling a bicycle”.

On 1 December 2005 the A380 achieved its maximum design speed of Mach 0.96 (versus typical cruising speed of Mach 0.85), in a shallow dive, completing the opening of the flight envelope
Flight envelope
In aerodynamics, the flight envelope or performance envelope of an aircraft refers to the capabilities of a design in terms of airspeed and load factor or altitude. The term is somewhat loosely applied, and can also refer to other measurements such as maneuverability...

. In 2006, the A380 flew its first high-altitude test at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. It conducted its second high-altitude test at the same airport in 2009. It arrived in North America on 6 February 2006, landing in Iqaluit, Nunavut
Nunavut
Nunavut is the largest and newest federal territory of Canada; it was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the Nunavut Act and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, though the actual boundaries had been established in 1993...

 in Canada for cold-weather testing.

On 14 February 2006, during the destructive wing strength certification test on MSN5000, the test wing of the A380 failed at 145% of the limit load, short of the 150% necessary to meet the certification. Airbus announced modifications adding 30 kg to the wing to provide the required strength. On 26 March 2006 the A380 underwent evacuation certification in Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

. With 8 of the 16 exits blocked, 853 passengers and 20 crew left the aircraft in 78 seconds, less than the 90 seconds required by certification standards. Three days later, the A380 received European Aviation Safety Agency
European Aviation Safety Agency
The European Aviation Safety Agency is an agency of the European Union with offices in Cologne, Germany, which has been given regulatory and executive tasks in the field of civilian aviation safety. It was created on 15 July 2002, and it reached full functionality in 2008, taking over functions...

 (EASA) and United States Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 (FAA) approval to carry up to 853 passengers.

The maiden flight of the first A380 using GP7200
Engine Alliance GP7200
|-See also:-References :* -External links :* , Engine Alliance* , GE-Aviation* , Pratt & Whitney...

 engines—serial number MSN009 and registration F-WWEA—took place on 25 August 2006. On 4 September 2006, the first full passenger-carrying flight test took place. The aircraft flew from Toulouse
Toulouse Blagnac International Airport
Toulouse Blagnac Airport or Aéroport de Toulouse - Blagnac is an airport located west northwest of Toulouse, just south of Blagnac, both communes of the Haute-Garonne département in the Midi-Pyrénées région of France....

 with 474 Airbus employees on board, in the first of a series of flights to test passenger facilities and comfort. In November 2006 a further series of route proving flights took place to demonstrate the aircraft's performance for 150 flight hours under typical airline operating conditions.

Airbus obtained type certificate
Type certificate
A Type Certificate, is awarded by aviation regulating bodies to aerospace manufacturers after it has been established that the particular design of a civil aircraft, engine, or propeller has fulfilled the regulating bodies' current prevailing airworthiness requirements for the safe conduct of...

s for the A380-841 and A380-842 model from the EASA
European Aviation Safety Agency
The European Aviation Safety Agency is an agency of the European Union with offices in Cologne, Germany, which has been given regulatory and executive tasks in the field of civilian aviation safety. It was created on 15 July 2002, and it reached full functionality in 2008, taking over functions...

 and FAA on 12 December 2006 in a joint ceremony at the company's French headquarters. The A380-861 model obtained its type certificate on 14 December 2007.

Production and delivery delays

Initial production of the A380 was troubled by delays attributed to the 530 km (329.3 mi) of wiring in each aircraft. Airbus cited as underlying causes the complexity of the cabin wiring (100,000 wires and 40,300 connectors), its concurrent design and production, the high degree of customisation for each airline, and failures of configuration management
Configuration management
Configuration management is a field of management that focuses on establishing and maintaining consistency of a system or product's performance and its functional and physical attributes with its requirements, design, and operational information throughout its life.For information assurance, CM...

 and change control
Change Control
Change control within Quality management systems and Information Technology systems is a formal process used to ensure that changes to a product or system are introduced in a controlled and coordinated manner...

. Specifically, it would appear that German and Spanish Airbus facilities continued to use CATIA
CATIA
CATIA is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company Dassault Systemes...

 version 4, while British and French sites migrated to version 5. This caused overall configuration management problems, at least in part because wiring harnesses manufactured using aluminium rather than copper conductors necessitated special design rules including non-standard dimensions and bend radii; these were not easily transferred between versions of the software.

Airbus announced the first delay in June 2005 and notified airlines that deliveries would be delayed by six months. This reduced the total number of planned deliveries by the end of 2009 from about 120 to 90–100. On 13 June 2006, Airbus announced a second delay, with the delivery schedule undergoing an additional shift of six to seven months. Although the first delivery was still planned before the end of 2006, deliveries in 2007 would drop to only 9 aircraft, and deliveries by the end of 2009 would be cut to 70–80 aircraft. The announcement caused a 26% drop in the share price of Airbus's parent, EADS
EADS
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. is a global pan-European aerospace and defence corporation and a leading defence and military contractor worldwide...

, and led to the departure of EADS CEO Noël Forgeard
Noël Forgeard
Noël Forgeard is a French industrialist and former joint CEO of EADS.-Appointment:From April 1998 until June 2005 Forgeard was CEO of the aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS.In late 2004 he was nominated as the next French CEO of EADS...

, Airbus CEO Gustav Humbert
Gustav Humbert
Dr. Gustav Humbert is the former Chief Executive Officer and President of Airbus SAS, and a former member of the EADS Executive Committee.- Airbus :...

, and A380 programme manager Charles Champion
Charles Champion
Charles Champion , who holds a MSc from Stanford University, has been Airbus 380's Executive Vice President of Engineering since 1 April 2010 and a member of the Airbus Executive Committee....

. On 3 October 2006, upon completion of a review of the A380 program, the CEO of Airbus, Christian Streiff
Christian Streiff
Christian Streiff is a French businessman.Streiff was born at Sarrebourg, Moselle. He was nominated chief executive officer of the European commercial aircraft manufacturer Airbus S.A.S. on July 2, 2006. He resigned from this position three months later, on October 9, 2006, and was replaced by...

, announced a third delay, pushing the first delivery to October 2007, to be followed by 13 deliveries in 2008, 25 in 2009, and the full production rate of 45 aircraft per year in 2010. The delay also increased the earnings shortfall projected by Airbus through 2010 to €4.8 billion.

As Airbus prioritised the work on the A380-800 over the A380-800F, freighter orders were cancelled by FedEx and UPS, or converted to A380-800 by Emirates and ILFC. Airbus suspended work on the freighter version, but said it remained on offer, albeit without a service entry date. For the passenger version Airbus negotiated a revised delivery schedule and compensation with the 13 customers, all of which retained their orders with some placing subsequent orders, including Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Air France, Qatar Airways, and Korean Air.

On 13 May 2008 Airbus announced reduced deliveries for the years 2008 (12) and 2009 (21). After further manufacturing setbacks, Airbus reduced plans to deliver 14 A380s in 2009, down from the previously revised target of 18. A total of 10 A380s were delivered in 2009. In 2010 Airbus delivered only 18 of the expected 20 A380s, due to Rolls-Royce engine availability problems. Airbus plans to deliver "between 20 and 25" A380s in 2011 before ramping up to three a month in 2012.

Entry into service

The first aircraft, MSN003, (registered as 9V-SKA) was delivered to Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Limited is the flag carrier airline of Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets...

 on 15 October 2007 and entered service on 25 October 2007 with flight number SQ380 between Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and Sydney. Passengers bought seats in a charity online auction paying between $560 and $100,380. Two months later, Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choong Seng said that the A380 was performing better than both the airline and Airbus had anticipated, burning 20% less fuel per passenger than the airline's existing 747–400
Boeing 747-400
The Boeing 747-400 is a major development and the best-selling model of the Boeing 747 family of jet airliners. While retaining the four-engine wide-body layout of its predecessors, the 747-400 embodies numerous technological and structural changes to produce a more efficient airframe...

 fleet.

Emirates was the second airline to receive the A380 and commenced services between Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 and New York
John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport is an international airport located in the borough of Queens in New York City, about southeast of Lower Manhattan. It is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North...

 in August 2008. Qantas
Qantas
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an initialism for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport...

 followed on 19 September 2008, starting flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles in October 2008. By the end of 2008, 890,000 passengers had flown on 2,200 flights totalling 21,000 hours.

In February 2009, the one millionth passenger was flown with Singapore Airlines and by May 2009 1,500,000 passengers had flown on 4,200 flights totalling 41,000 hours. Air France
Air France
Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

 received their first A380 in October 2009. Lufthansa
Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...

 received its first A380 in May 2010. By July 2010, the 31 A380s then in service had transported 6 million passengers on 17,000 flights totalling over 156,000 hours between 20 international destinations.

Korean Air
Korean Air
Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. , operating as Korean Air, is both the flag carrier and the largest airline of South Korea, with global headquarters located in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air's international passenger division and related subsidiary cargo division together serve 130 cities in 45...

 received its first A380, becoming the sixth airline to fly it, and began services in June 2011. By June 2011 over 12 million passengers had flown on 33,000 flights totalling almost 300,000 hours. China Southern
China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines is an airline headquartered in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China. It is the world's sixth-largest airline measured by passengers carried, and Asia's largest airline in terms of both fleet size and passengers carried...

 became the seventh airline to operate the aircraft, and the first to use it on scheduled routes in China, commencing operation between Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai on 17 October 2011. By late October 2011, A380s have flown some 16 million passengers.

Overview

The new Airbus was initially offered in two models. The A380-800 original configuration carried 555 passengers in a three-class
Travel class
A travel class is a quality of accommodation on public transport. The accommodation could be a seat or a cabin for example. Higher travel classes are more comfortable and more expensive.-Airline booking codes:...

 configuration or 853 passengers (538 on the main deck and 315 on the upper deck) in a single-class economy configuration. In May 2007 Airbus began marketing a configuration with 30 fewer passengers, now 525 passengers in three classes, traded for 370 km (199.8 nmi) more range, to better reflect trends in premium class accommodation. The design range for the −800 model is 15400 km (8,315.3 nmi); capable of flying for example from Hong Kong to New York, or from Sydney to Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 non-stop. The second model, the A380-800F freighter, would carry 150 tonnes of cargo 10400 km (5,615.6 nmi). The −800F development was put on hold as Airbus prioritised the passenger version and all cargo orders were cancelled. Future variants may include an A380-900 stretch seating about 656 passengers (or up to 960 passengers in an all economy configuration) and an extended range version with the same passenger capacity as the A380-800.
The A380's wing is sized for a maximum take-off weight
Maximum Take-Off Weight
The Maximum Takeoff Weight or Maximum Takeoff Mass of an aircraft is the maximum weight at which the pilot of the aircraft is allowed to attempt to take off, due to structural or other limits. The analogous term for rockets is Gross Lift-Off Mass, or GLOW...

 (MTOW) over 650 tonnes in order to accommodate these future versions, albeit with some strengthening required. The stronger wing (and structure) will be used on the A380-800F freighter. This common design approach sacrifices some fuel efficiency
Fuel efficiency
Fuel efficiency is a form of thermal efficiency, meaning the efficiency of a process that converts chemical potential energy contained in a carrier fuel into kinetic energy or work. Overall fuel efficiency may vary per device, which in turn may vary per application, and this spectrum of variance is...

 on the A380-800 passenger model, but Airbus estimates that the size of the aircraft, coupled with the advances in technology described below, will provide lower operating costs per passenger than the 747-400 and older 747 variants. The A380 also features wingtip fences similar to those found on the A310
Airbus A310
The Airbus A310 is a medium- to long-range twin-engine widebody jet airliner. Launched in July 1978, it was the second aircraft created by Airbus Industrie,a consortium of European aerospace companies, Airbus is now fully owned by EADS and since 2001 has been known as Airbus SAS. the consortium of...

 and A320
Airbus A320 family
The Airbus A320 family is a family of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus Industrie.Airbus was originally a consortium of European aerospace companies, and is now fully owned by EADS. Airbus's name has been Airbus SAS since 2001...

 to alleviate the effects of induced drag
Lift-induced drag
In aerodynamics, lift-induced drag, induced drag, vortex drag, or sometimes drag due to lift, is a drag force that occurs whenever a moving object redirects the airflow coming at it. This drag force occurs in airplanes due to wings or a lifting body redirecting air to cause lift and also in cars...

, increasing fuel efficiency and performance.

Engines

The A380 can be fitted with two types of turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

 engines: either the Rolls-Royce Trent 900
Rolls-Royce Trent 900
The Rolls-Royce Trent 900 is a series of turbofan engines, developed from the RB211 and is one of the family of Trent engines.-Design and development:...

 (variants A380-841, −842 and −843F) or with the Engine Alliance GP7000 (A380-861 and −863F). The Trent 900 is a derivative of the Trent 800, and the GP7000 has roots from the GE90 and PW4000
Pratt & Whitney PW4000
|-See also:-External links:* * *...

. The Trent 900 core is a scaled version of the Trent 500
Rolls-Royce Trent 500
|-See also:-External links:*...

, but incorporates the swept fan technology of the stillborn Trent 8104. The GP7200 has a GE90-derived core and PW4090-derived fan and low-pressure turbo-machinery. Noise reduction was an important requirement in the A380's design, and particularly affects engine design. Both engine types allow the aircraft to achieve QC/2 departure and QC/0.5 arrival noise limits under the Quota Count system
Quota Count system
Quota Count is a system used in the UK by London's Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted airports to limit the amount of noise generated by aircraft movements at night time .- Description :...

 set by London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

, which is a key destination for the A380.

The A380 was initially planned without thrust reversers, being designed to have enough braking capacity to do without them. However Airbus elected to fit the two inboard engines with thrust reversers in a late stage of development. The two outboard engines do not have reversers, reducing the amount of debris stirred up during landing. The A380 has electrically actuated thrust reversers, giving them better reliability than their pneumatic or hydraulic equivalents, in addition to saving weight.

The A380 was used to demonstrate the viability of a synthetic fuel comprising standard jet fuel with a natural-gas-derived component. On 1 February 2008, a three hour test flight operated between Britain and France, with one of the A380's four engines using a mix of 60% standard jet kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

 and 40% gas to liquids
Gas to liquids
Gas to liquids is a refinery process to convert natural gas or other gaseous hydrocarbons into longer-chain hydrocarbons such as gasoline or diesel fuel...

 (GTL) fuel supplied by Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

. The aircraft needed no modification to use the GTL fuel, which was designed to be mixed with normal jet fuel. Sebastien Remy, head of Airbus SAS's alternative fuel programme, said the GTL used was no cleaner in CO2
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 terms than standard fuel but it had local air quality benefits because it contains no sulphur.

Advanced materials

While most of the fuselage is aluminium, composite materials comprise more than 20% of the A380's airframe. Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, glass-fibre reinforced plastic
Glass-reinforced plastic
Fiberglass , is a fiber reinforced polymer made of a plastic matrix reinforced by fine fibers of glass. It is also known as GFK ....

 and quartz-fibre reinforced plastic are used extensively in wings, fuselage sections (such as the undercarriage and rear end of fuselage), tail surfaces, and doors. The A380 is the first commercial airliner to have a central wing box made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. It is also the first to have a smoothly contoured wing cross section. The wings of other commercial airliners are partitioned span-wise into sections. This flowing, continuous cross section optimises aerodynamic efficiency. Thermoplastics are used in the leading edges of the slats
Leading edge slats
Slats are aerodynamic surfaces on the leading edge of the wings of fixed-wing aircraft which, when deployed, allow the wing to operate at a higher angle of attack. A higher coefficient of lift is produced as a result of angle of attack and speed, so by deploying slats an aircraft can fly at slower...

. The new material GLARE
GLARE (material)
GLARE is a "Glass Laminate Aluminium Reinforced Epoxy" FML, composed of several very thin layers of metal interspersed with layers of glass-fibre "pre-preg", bonded together with a matrix such as epoxy...

 (GLAss-REinforced fibre metal laminate) is used in the upper fuselage and on the stabilisers' leading edges. This aluminium-glass-fibre laminate
Laminate
A laminate is a material that can be constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which in common parlance refers to the placing of something between layers of plastic and gluing them with heat and/or pressure, usually with an...

 is lighter and has better corrosion and impact resistance than conventional aluminium alloys used in aviation. Unlike earlier composite materials, it can be repaired using conventional aluminium repair techniques. Newer weldable
Welding
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes...

 aluminium alloys are also used. This enables the widespread use of laser beam welding
Laser beam welding
Laser beam welding is a welding technique used to join multiple pieces of metal through the use of a laser. The beam provides a concentrated heat source, allowing for narrow, deep welds and high welding rates...

 manufacturing techniques — eliminating rows of rivet
Rivet
A rivet is a permanent mechanical fastener. Before being installed a rivet consists of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. The end opposite the head is called the buck-tail. On installation the rivet is placed in a punched or pre-drilled hole, and the tail is upset, or bucked A rivet...

s and resulting in a lighter, stronger structure.

Avionics

The A380 employs an Integrated Modular Avionics
Integrated Modular Avionics
Integrated modular avionics represent real-time computer network airborne systems. This network consists of a number of computing modules capable of supporting numerous applications of differing criticality levels....

 (IMA) architecture, first used in advanced military aircraft, such as the F-22 Raptor
F-22 Raptor
The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation supermaneuverable fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology. It was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals...

, F-35
F-35 Lightning II
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, fifth generation multirole fighters under development to perform ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defense missions with stealth capability...

, and Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine delta-wing multi-role jet fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Introduced in 2000, the Rafale is being produced both for land-based use with the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations with the French Navy...

. The main IMA systems on the A380 were developed by Thales Group
Thales Group
The Thales Group is a French electronics company delivering information systems and services for the aerospace, defense, transportation and security markets...

. Designed and developed by Airbus, Thales and Diehl Aerospace, the IMA suite is first used on the A380. The suite is a technological innovation, with networked computing modules to support different applications. The data communication networks use Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet
Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet
Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet is a data network for safety-critical applications that utilizes dedicated bandwidth while providing deterministic Quality of Service . AFDX is based on IEEE 802.3 Ethernet technology and utilizes commercial off-the-shelf components...

, following the ARINC 664 standard. The data networks are switched, full-duplex, star-topology
Star network
Star networks are one of the most common computer network topologies. In its simplest form, a star network consists of one central switch, hub or computer, which acts as a conduit to transmit messages...

 and based on 100baseTX
Ethernet over twisted pair
Ethernet over twisted pair technologies use twisted-pair cables for the physical layer of an Ethernet computer network. Other Ethernet cable standards employ coaxial cable or optical fiber. Early versions developed in the 1980s included StarLAN followed by 10BASE-T. By the 1990s, fast, inexpensive...

 fast-Ethernet
Fast Ethernet
In computer networking, Fast Ethernet is a collective term for a number of Ethernet standards that carry traffic at the nominal rate of 100 Mbit/s, against the original Ethernet speed of 10 Mbit/s. Of the fast Ethernet standards 100BASE-TX is by far the most common and is supported by the...

. This reduces the amount of wiring required and minimises latency
Latency (engineering)
Latency is a measure of time delay experienced in a system, the precise definition of which depends on the system and the time being measured. Latencies may have different meaning in different contexts.-Packet-switched networks:...

.

Airbus used similar cockpit layout, procedures and handling characteristics to other Airbus aircraft, reducing crew training costs. The A380 has an improved glass cockpit
Glass cockpit
A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, as opposed to the traditional style of analog dials and gauges...

, using fly-by-wire
Fly-by-wire
Fly-by-wire is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires , and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control...

 flight controls linked to side-sticks
Joystick
A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling. Joysticks, also known as 'control columns', are the principal control in the cockpit of many civilian and military aircraft, either as a center stick or...

. The cockpit displays feature eight 15 by liquid crystal display
Liquid crystal display
A liquid crystal display is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals . LCs do not emit light directly....

s, all of which are physically identical and interchangeable; comprising two Primary Flight Displays
Primary flight display
A primary flight display or PFD is a modern aircraft instrument dedicated to flight information. Much like multi-function displays, primary flight displays are built around an LCD or CRT display device...

, two navigation displays, one engine parameter display, one system display and two Multi-Function Displays
Multi-function display
A Multi-function display is a small screen in an aircraft surrounded by multiple buttons that can be used to display information to the pilot in numerous configurable ways. Often an MFD will be used in concert with a Primary Flight Display. MFDs are part of the digital era of modern planes or...

. The MFDs were introduced on the A380 to provide an easy-to-use interface to the flight management system
Flight management system
A flight management system is a fundamental part of a modern airliner's avionics. An FMS is a specialized computer system that automates a wide variety of in-flight tasks, reducing the workload on the flight crew to the point that modern aircraft no longer carry flight engineers or navigators. A...

—replacing three multifunction control and display units. They include QWERTY
QWERTY
QWERTY is the most common modern-day keyboard layout. The name comes from the first six letters appearing in the topleft letter row of the keyboard, read left to right: Q-W-E-R-T-Y. The QWERTY design is based on a layout created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the...

 keyboards and trackballs, interfacing with a graphical
Graphical user interface
In computing, a graphical user interface is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands. GUIs can be used in computers, hand-held devices such as MP3 players, portable media players or gaming devices, household appliances and...

 "point-and-click
Point-and-click
Point-and-click is the action of a computer user moving a cursor to a certain location on a screen and then pressing a mouse button, usually the left button , or other pointing device...

" display system.

The Network Systems Server (NSS) is the heart of A380's paperless cockpit; it eliminates bulky manuals and charts traditionally used. The NSS has enough inbuilt robustness to eliminate onboard backup paper documents. The A380's network and server system stores data and offers electronic documentation, providing a required equipment list, navigation charts, performance calculations, and an aircraft logbook. This is accessed through the MFDs and controlled via the keyboard interface.

Power-by-wire flight control actuators have been used for the first time in civil aviation to back up primary hydraulic actuators. Also, during certain manoeuvres they augment the primary actuators. They have self-contained hydraulic and electrical power supplies. Electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHA) are used in the aileron
Aileron
Ailerons are hinged flight control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. The ailerons are used to control the aircraft in roll, which results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector...

 and elevator
Elevator (aircraft)
Elevators are flight control surfaces, usually at the rear of an aircraft, which control the aircraft's orientation by changing the pitch of the aircraft, and so also the angle of attack of the wing. In simplified terms, they make the aircraft nose-up or nose-down...

, electric and hydraulic motors to drive the slats as well as electrical backup hydrostatic actuators (EBHA) for the rudder and some spoilers.

The A-380's 350 bar (35 MPa or 5,000 psi) hydraulic system is a significant difference from the typical 210 bar (21 MPa or 3,000 psi) hydraulics used on most commercial aircraft since the 1940s. First used in military aircraft, higher pressure hydraulics reduce the weight and size of pipelines, actuators and related components. The 350 bar pressure is generated by eight de-clutchable hydraulic pumps. Pipelines are typically made from titanium
Titanium
Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant transition metal with a silver color....

; the system features both fuel- and air-cooled heat exchanger
Heat exchanger
A heat exchanger is a piece of equipment built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. The media may be separated by a solid wall, so that they never mix, or they may be in direct contact...

s. Self-contained electrically powered hydraulic power packs serve as backups for the primary systems, instead of a secondary hydraulic system, saving weight and reducing maintenance.

The A380 uses four 150 kVA variable-frequency electrical generators, eliminating constant speed drives and improving reliability. The A380 uses aluminium power cables instead of copper for weight reduction. The electrical power system is fully computerised and many contactors and breakers have been replaced by solid-state devices for better performance and increased reliability.

Passenger provisions

The cabin has features to reduce traveller fatigue such as a quieter interior and higher pressurisation than previous aircraft; the A380 has 50% less cabin noise than the 747-400 and is pressurised to the equivalent of 1520 m (4,986.9 ft) altitude versus 2440 m (8,005.2 ft) on the 747-400. The A380 has 50% more cabin area and volume, larger windows, bigger overhead bins, and 60 cm (2 ft) extra headroom versus the 747-400. Seating options range from 4-abreast in first class up to 11-across in economy. On other aircraft, economy seats range from 41.5 cm (16.3 in) to 52.3 cm (20.6 in) in width, A380 economy seats are up to 48 cm (18.9 in) wide in a 10-abreast configuration; compared with the 10-abreast configuration on the 747-400 which typically has seats 44.5 cm (17.5 in) wide.
The A380's upper and lower decks are connected by two stairways, fore and aft, wide enough to accommodate two passengers side-by-side; this cabin arrangement allows multiple seat configurations. The maximum certified carrying capacity is 853 passengers in an all-economy-class layout, Airbus lists the typical three-class layout as accommodating 525 passengers, with 10 first, 76 business, and 439 economy class seats. Airline configurations range from Korean Air
Korean Air
Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. , operating as Korean Air, is both the flag carrier and the largest airline of South Korea, with global headquarters located in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air's international passenger division and related subsidiary cargo division together serve 130 cities in 45...

's 407 passengers to Air Austral
Air Austral
Air Austral is a French airline with its headquarters at Roland Garros Airport in Sainte-Marie, Réunion, France. The airline's main base of flight operations is Roland Garros Airport. It operates scheduled services from Réunion to France, South Africa, Australia, New Caledonia, and a number of...

's 840 passengers. The A380's illumination system uses bulbless LEDs
Light-emitting diode
A light-emitting diode is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for other lighting...

 in the cabin, cockpit, and cargo decks. The LEDs in the cabin can be altered to create an ambience simulating daylight, night, or levels in between. On the outside of the aircraft, HID
High-intensity discharge lamp
High-intensity discharge lamps are a type of electrical lamp which produces light by means of an electric arc between tungsten electrodes housed inside a translucent or transparent fused quartz or fused alumina arc tube. This tube is filled with both gas and metal salts. The gas facilitates the...

 lighting is used for brighter illumination.

Airbus's publicity has stressed the comfort and space of the A380's cabin, and advertised onboard relaxation areas such as bars, beauty salons, duty-free shop
Duty-free shop
Duty-free shops are retail outlets that are exempt from the payment of certain local or national taxes and duties, on the requirement that the goods sold will be sold to travelers who will take them out of the country...

s, and restaurants. Proposed amenities resembled those installed on earlier airliners, particularly 1970s wide-body jets, which largely gave way to regular seats for more passenger capacity. Airbus has acknowledged that some cabin proposals were unlikely to be installed, and that it was ultimately the airlines' decision how to configure the interior. Industry analysts suggested that implementing customisation has slowed the production speeds, and raised costs. Due to delivery delays, Singapore Airlines and Air France debuted their seat designs on different aircraft prior to the A380.
Initial operators typically configured their A380s for three-class service, while adding extra features for passengers in premium cabins. Launch customer Singapore Airlines debuted partly-enclosed first class suites on its A380s in 2007, each featuring a leather seat with a separate bed; center suites could be joined to create a double bed. A year later, Qantas debuted a new first class seat-bed and a sofa lounge at the front of the upper deck on its A380s. In late 2008, Emirates introduced "shower spas" in first class on its A380s, along with a bar lounge and seating area on the upper deck,
and in 2009 Air France unveiled an upper deck electronic art gallery. In addition to lounge areas, some A380 operators have installed amenities consistent with other aircraft in their respective fleets, including self-serve snack bars, premium economy
Premium economy
Premium economy is a travel class offered on some airlines, positioned in price, comfort, and amenities between economy class and business class. As of 2011, the term is not standardized among airlines, and varies significantly when comparing its use on domestic versus international flights or...

 sections, and redesigned business class seating.

Ground operations

In the 1990s, aircraft manufacturers were planning to introduce larger planes than the Boeing 747
Boeing 747
The Boeing 747 is a wide-body commercial airliner and cargo transport, often referred to by its original nickname, Jumbo Jet, or Queen of the Skies. It is among the world's most recognizable aircraft, and was the first wide-body ever produced...

. In a common effort of the International Civil Aviation Organization
International Civil Aviation Organization
The International Civil Aviation Organization , pronounced , , is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth...

, ICAO, with manufacturers, airports and its member agencies, the "80-metre box" was created, the airport gates
Gate (airport)
A gate in aviation is a long, movable, "bridge" that allows passengers to embark and disembark their aircraft.* Jetway bridges* Air stairs, either built into the aircraft or from a mobile vehicle* Mobile lounges...

 allowing planes up to 80 m (262.5 ft) wingspan and length to be accommodated. Airbus designed the A380 according to these guidelines, and to operate safely on Group V runways and taxiways, and while the U.S. FAA opposed this at an early stage, in July 2007, the FAA and EASA agreed to let the A380 operate on 45 m runways without restrictions. The A380-800 is approximately 30% larger in overall size than the 747-400, and can land or take off on any runway that can accommodate a 747. Runway lighting and signage may need changes to provide clearance to the wings and avoid blast damage from the engines and taxiway shoulders may be required to be stabilised to reduce the likelihood of foreign object damage
Foreign object damage
Foreign Object Debris is a substance, debris or article alien to a vehicle or system which would potentially cause damage.Foreign Object Damage is any damage attributed to a foreign object that can be expressed in physical or economic terms that may or may not degrade the product's required...

 caused to (or by) the outboard engines, which overhang more than 25 m (82 ft) from the centre line of the aircraft.

Airbus measured pavement loads using a 540-tonne (595 short tons) ballasted test rig, designed to replicate the landing gear
Landing Gear
Landing Gear is Devin the Dude's fifth studio album. It was released on October 7, 2008. It was his first studio album since signing with the label Razor & Tie. It features a high-profile guest appearance from Snoop Dogg. As of October 30, 2008, the album has sold 18,906 copies.-Track...

 of the A380. The rig was towed over a section of pavement at Airbus' facilities that had been instrumented with embedded load sensors. It was determined that the pavement of most runways will not need to be reinforced despite the higher weight, as it is distributed on more wheels than in other passenger aircraft with a total of 22 wheels. The A380 landing gear is in a similar layout as the 747, except for four more wheels via the incorporation of six wheels on each main body gear.

The A380 requires service vehicles with lifts capable of reaching the upper deck, as well as tractors
Pushback
In aviation, pushback is an airport procedure during which an aircraft is pushed backwards away from an airport gate by external power. Pushbacks are carried out by special, low-profile vehicles called pushback tractors or tugs....

 capable of handling the A380's maximum ramp weight. Using two jetway bridges the boarding time is 45 min, using an extra jetway to the upper deck it is reduced to 34 min. The A380 test aircraft have participated in a campaign of airport compatibility testing to verify the modifications already made at several large airports, visiting a number of airports around the world.

Takeoff and landing separation

In 2005, the ICAO recommended that provisional separation criteria for the A380 on takeoff and landing be substantially greater than for the 747 because preliminary flight test
Flight test
Flight test is a branch of aeronautical engineering that develops and gathers data during flight of an aircraft and then analyzes the data to evaluate the flight characteristics of the aircraft and validate its design, including safety aspects...

 data suggested a stronger wake turbulence
Wake turbulence
Wake turbulence is turbulence that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air. This turbulence includes various components, the most important of which are wing vorticies and jetwash. Jetwash refers simply to the rapidly moving gases expelled from a jet engine; it is extremely turbulent,...

. These criteria were in effect while the ICAO's wake vortex steering group, with representatives from the JAA
Joint Aviation Authorities
The Joint Aviation Authorities, or JAA, was an associated body of the ECAC representing the civil aviation regulatory authorities of a number of European States who had agreed to co-operate in developing and implementing common safety regulatory standards and procedures...

, Eurocontrol, the FAA, and Airbus, refined its 3-year study of the issue with additional flight testing. In September 2006, the working group presented its first conclusions to the ICAO.

In November 2006, the ICAO issued new interim recommendations. Replacing a blanket
Blanket
A blanket is a type of bedding, generally speaking, a large piece of cloth, intended to keep the user warm, especially while sleeping. Blankets are distinguished from sheets by their thickness and purpose; the thickest sheet is still thinner than the lightest blanket. Blankets are generally used...

 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) separation for aircraft trailing an A380 during approach, the new distances were 6 nmi (11.1 km), 8 nmi (14.8 km) and 10 nmi (18.5 km) respectively for non-A380 "Heavy", "Medium", and "Light" ICAO aircraft categories. These compared with the 4 nmi (7.4 km), 5 nmi (9.3 km) and 6 nmi (11.1 km) spacing applicable to other "Heavy" aircraft. Another A380 following an A380 should maintain a separation of 4 nmi (7.4 km). On departure behind an A380, non-A380 "Heavy" aircraft are required to wait two minutes, and "Medium"/"Light" aircraft three minutes for time based operations. The ICAO also recommends that pilots append the term "Super" to the aircraft's callsign when initiating communication with air traffic control, in order to distinguish the A380 from "Heavy" aircraft.

In August 2008, the ICAO issued revised approach separations of 4 nmi (7.4 km) for Super (another A380), 6 nmi (11.1 km) for Heavy, 7 nmi (13 km) for medium/small, and 8 nmi (14.8 km) for light.

Improved A380-800

From 2013, Airbus will introduce a new A380 build standard incorporating a strengthened airframe structure and a 1.5° increase in wing twist. Airbus will also offer, as an option, an improved maximum take-off weight, thus providing a better payload/range performance. Maximum take-off weight is increased by 4 t (8,818.5 lb), to 573 t (1,263,248.8 lb) and an additional 190 km (100 nmi) in range. This is achieved by reducing flight loads, partly from optimising the fly-by-wire control laws. British Airways and Emirates will be the first customers to receive this new option. Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines Company Limited, trading as Vietnam Airlines , is the national flag carrier of Vietnam. Founded in 1956 under the name Vietnam Civil Aviation, the airline was established as a state enterprise in April 1989. Vietnam Airlines is headquartered in Long Bien, Hanoi, with hubs at Noi...

 has shown interest in the higher-weight variant.

A380-900

In November 2007, Airbus top sales executive and chief operating officer John Leahy confirmed plans for an enlarged variant, the A380-900, which would be slightly longer than the A380-800 (79.4–73 m or 260–240 ft). This version would have a seating capacity
Seating capacity
Seating capacity refers to the number of people who can be seated in a specific space, both in terms of the physical space available, and in terms of limitations set by law. Seating capacity can be used in the description of anything ranging from an automobile that seats two to a stadium that seats...

 of 650 passengers in standard configuration, and approximately 900 passengers in economy-only configuration. In May 2010, Airbus announced that A380-900 development was postponed, until production of the A380-800 has stabilised. Airlines that have expressed interest in the model include Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, Kingfisher Airlines
Kingfisher Airlines
Kingfisher Airlines is an airline group based in India. Its head office is Kingfisher House in Vile Parle , Mumbai. Kingfisher Airlines, through its parent company United Breweries Group, has a 50% stake in low-cost carrier Kingfisher Red....

, as well as the leasing company ILFC.

A380-800 freighter

Airbus originally accepted orders for the freighter version, offering the second largest payload capacity of any cargo aircraft
Cargo aircraft
A cargo aircraft is a fixed-wing aircraft designed or converted for the carriage of goods, rather than passengers. They are usually devoid of passenger amenities, and generally feature one or more large doors for the loading and unloading of cargo...

, exceeded only by the Antonov An-225
Antonov An-225
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft, designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980s. It is the world's heaviest aircraft. The design, built in order to transport the Buran orbiter, was an enlargement of the successful An-124 Ruslan...

. However, production has been suspended until the A380 production lines have settled with no firm availability date.

A380-800R

Using the additional tanks designed for the A380-900, Airbus is likely to propose a long range variant of the A380-800 (range of 18,057 km, 9,750 nmi). The A380-800R could make a direct connection between London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, which is operated by British Airways
British Airways
British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, based in Waterside, near its main hub at London Heathrow Airport. British Airways is the largest airline in the UK based on fleet size, international flights and international destinations...

, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas
Qantas
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an initialism for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport...

.

Market

In 2006, industry analysts Philip Lawrence of the Aerospace Research Centre in Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

 and Richard Aboulafia of the consulting Teal Group in Fairfax
Fairfax, Virginia
The City of Fairfax is an independent city forming an enclave within the confines of Fairfax County, in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. Although politically independent of the surrounding county, the City is nevertheless the county seat....

 anticipated 880 and 400 A380 sales respectively by 2025. According to Lawrence, parallel to the design of the A380, Airbus conducted the most extensive and thorough market analysis of commercial aviation ever undertaken, justifying its VLA (very large aircraft, those with more than 400 seats) plans, while according to Aboulafia, the rise of mid-size aircraft and market fragmentation reduced VLAs to niche market
Niche market
A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing; therefore the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact...

 status, making such plans unjustified. The two analysts' market forecasts differed in the incorporation of spoke-hub
Spoke-hub distribution paradigm
The hub-and-spoke distribution paradigm is a system of connections arranged like a chariot wheel, in which all traffic moves along spokes connected to the hub at the center...

 and point-to-point
Point-to-point transit
Point-to-point transit refers to a transportation system where a plane, bus or train travels directly to a destination, rather than going through a central hub...

 models.

In 2007, Airbus estimated a demand for 1,283 passenger planes in the VLA category for the next 20 years if airport congestion remains at the current level. According to this estimate, demand could reach up to 1,771 VLAs if congestion increases. Most of this demand will be due to the urbanisation and rapid economic growth in Asia. The A380 will be used on relatively few routes, between the most saturated airports. Airbus also estimates a demand for 415 freighters in the category 120-tonne plus. Boeing, which offers the only competition in that class, the 747-8, estimates the demand for passenger VLAs at 590 and that for freighter VLAs at 370 for the period 2007–2026.

At one time the A380 was considered as a potential replacement for the existing Boeing VC-25
Boeing VC-25
The Boeing VC-25 is the designation of a United States Air Force passenger transportation aircraft, a military version of the Boeing 747 airliner. The A-model is the only variant of the VC-25....

 serving as Air Force One
Air Force One
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term refers to those Air Force aircraft whose primary mission is to transport the president; however, any U.S. Air Force aircraft...

, but in January 2009 EADS declared that they were not going to bid for the contract, as assembling only three planes in the US would not make financial sense.

there were 244 orders for the A380-800. The break-even
Break-even
Break-even is a point where any difference between plus or minus or equivalent changes side.-In economics:A technique for which identifying the point where the total revenue is just sufficient to cover the total cost...

 for the A380 was initially supposed to be reached at 270 units, but due to the delays and the falling exchange rate of the US dollar, it increased to 420 units. In 2010, EADS CFO Hans Peter Ring said that break-even (on the aircraft that are delivered) could be achieved by 2015, despite the delays; there should be around 200 deliveries by that time, on current projections. the average list price of an A380 was US$ 375.3 million (about €261 million or £229 million), depending on equipment installed.

Orders and deliveries

Eighteen customers have ordered the A380, including one VIP order by Airbus Executive and Private Aviation
Airbus Executive and Private Aviation
Airbus Executive and Private Aviation is a producer of large corporate aircraft. It is a part of Airbus S.A.S., an EADS company, and had a model range that parallels the commercial aircraft offered by the company, ranging from the A318 Elite to the double/triple-decked Airbus A380 Prestige...

. Total orders for the A380 stand at 238 as of 31 October 2011. The biggest customer is Emirates, which in June 2010 increased its order by 32 aircraft to 90 total, or nearly 40% of all A380 orders at the time. A total of 27 orders originally placed for the freighter version, A380-800F, were either cancelled (20) or converted to A380-800 (7), following the production delay and the subsequent suspension of the freighter programme.

Delivery takes place in Hamburg for customers from Europe and the Middle East and in Toulouse for customers from the rest of the world.
A380 firm net orders, by year
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total
Orders A380-800 78 0 34 10 10 24 33 9 4 32 9 243
A380-800F 7 10 0 0 10 −17 −10 0 0 0 0 0
Deliveries A380-800 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 12 10 18 22 63

Commercial operators

Emirates is currently the largest operator of the A380 with 16 in service of its 90 on order, itself the largest amount of any carrier. The shortest route that the A380 flies regularly is from Seoul Incheon to Tokyo Narita with Korean Air, although Air France has also operated the A380 on the even shorter Paris to London route in mid-2010.

Airline First commercial flight
  Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Limited is the flag carrier airline of Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets...

  Emirates
  Qantas
Qantas
Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an initialism for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, with its main hub at Sydney Airport...

  Air France
Air France
Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

  Lufthansa
Lufthansa
Deutsche Lufthansa AG is the flag carrier of Germany and the largest airline in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried. The name of the company is derived from Luft , and Hansa .The airline is the world's fourth-largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating...

  Korean Air
Korean Air
Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. , operating as Korean Air, is both the flag carrier and the largest airline of South Korea, with global headquarters located in Seoul, South Korea. Korean Air's international passenger division and related subsidiary cargo division together serve 130 cities in 45...

  China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines
China Southern Airlines is an airline headquartered in Baiyun District, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China. It is the world's sixth-largest airline measured by passengers carried, and Asia's largest airline in terms of both fleet size and passengers carried...


Incidents and accidents

The A380 has been involved in one aviation incident
Aviation accidents and incidents
An aviation accident is defined in the Convention on International Civil Aviation Annex 13 as an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, in which a...

 .
  • On 4 November 2010, Qantas Flight 32
    Qantas Flight 32
    Qantas Flight 32 was a Qantas passenger flight that on 4 November 2010 suffered an uncontained engine failure and was forced to make an emergency landing at Singapore Changi Airport. The failure was the first of its kind for the four-engined Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft...

    , en route from Singapore Changi Airport
    Singapore Changi Airport
    Singapore Changi Airport , Changi International Airport, or simply Changi Airport, is the main airport in Singapore. A major aviation hub in Southeast Asia, it is about north-east from the commercial centre in Changi, on a site....

     to Sydney Airport
    Sydney Airport
    Sydney Airport may refer to:* Sydney Airport, also known as Kingsford Smith International Airport, in Sydney, Australia* Sydney/J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport, in Nova Scotia, Canada...

    , suffered an uncontained engine failure, resulting in a series of related problems, and forcing the flight to return to Singapore. There were no injuries to the passengers, crew or people on the ground despite debris falling onto the Indonesian island of Batam
    Batam
    Batam is an island and city in Riau Islands Province of Indonesia, known for its free trade zone area as part of the Sijori Growth Triangle, is located off Singapore's south coast...

    . Qantas subsequently grounded all of its A380s that day subject to an internal investigation taken in conjunction with the engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce plc
    Rolls-Royce plc
    Rolls-Royce Group plc is a global power systems company headquartered in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines , and also has major businesses in the marine propulsion and energy sectors. Through its defence-related activities...

    . Other operators of Rolls-Royce-powered A380s were also affected. Investigators later determined the cause of the explosion to be an oil leak in the Trent 900 engine.


Specifications

Measurement A380-800 A380-800F
Cockpit crew Two
Seating capacity 525 (3-class)
644 (2-class)
853 (1-class)
12 couriers
Length overall 72.73 m (238.6 ft)
Wingspan 79.75 m (261.6 ft)
Height 24.45 m (80.2 ft)
Wheelbase 33.58 m (110.2 ft) wing landing gear
36.85 m (120.9 ft) body landing gear
Wheel track 12.46 m (40.9 ft)
Outside fuselage width 7.14 m (23.4 ft)
Outside fuselage height 8.41 m (27.6 ft)
Maximum cabin width 6.58 m (21.6 ft) Main deck
5.92 m (19.4 ft) Upper deck (floor level)
Cabin length 49.9 m (163.7 ft) Main deck
44.93 m (147.4 ft) Upper deck
Wing area 845 m² (9,095.5 sq ft)
Aspect ratio 7.5
Wing sweep
Swept wing
A swept wing is a wing planform favored for high subsonic jet speeds first investigated by Germany during the Second World War. Since the introduction of the MiG-15 and North American F-86 which demonstrated a decisive superiority over the slower first generation of straight-wing jet fighters...

 
33.5°
Maximum taxi/ramp weight 571000 kg (1,258,839.5 lb) 592000 kg (1,305,136.6 lb)
Maximum take-off weight 569000 kg (1,254,430.3 lb) 590000 kg (1,300,727.3 lb)
Maximum landing weight 391000 kg (862,007.4 lb) 427000 kg (941,373.9 lb)
Maximum zero fuel weight 366000 kg (806,891.9 lb) 402000 kg (886,258.3 lb)
Typical Operating empty weight 276800 kg (610,239.5 lb) 252200 kg (556,005.8 lb)
Maximum structural payload 89200 kg (196,652.3 lb) 149800 kg (330,252.5 lb)
Maximum cargo volume 176 m³ (6,215.4 cu ft) 1134 m³ (40,046.8 cu ft)
Maximum operating speed
at cruise altitude
Mach 0.89
(945 km/h, 587 mph, 510 knots)
Maximum design speed
in dive at cruise altitude
Mach 0.96
(at cruise altitude: 1020 km/h, 634 mph, 551 knots)
Take off run at MTOW/SL ISA 2750 m (9,022.3 ft) 2900 m (9,514.4 ft)
Range at design load 15,400 km (8,300 nmi, 9,500 mi) 10,400 km (5,600 nmi, 6,400 mi)
Service ceiling 13115 m (43,028.2 ft)
Maximum fuel capacity 320,000 L
(84,600 US gal)
310,000 L
(81,893 US gal),
320,000 L
(84,600 US gal) option
Engines (4 x) GP7270 (A380-861)
Trent 970/B
Rolls-Royce Trent 900
The Rolls-Royce Trent 900 is a series of turbofan engines, developed from the RB211 and is one of the family of Trent engines.-Design and development:...

 (A380-841)
Trent 972/B (A380-842)
GP7277 (A380-863F)
Trent 977/B
Rolls-Royce Trent 900
The Rolls-Royce Trent 900 is a series of turbofan engines, developed from the RB211 and is one of the family of Trent engines.-Design and development:...

 (A380-843F)
Thrust (4 x) 310 kN (69,690.8 lbf) – GP7270
310 kN (69,690.8 lbf) – Trent 970/B
320 kN (71,938.9 lbf) – Trent 972/B
340 kN (76,435 lbf) – GP7277
340 kN (76,435 lbf) – Trent 977/B

Sources: Airbus A380 specifications

See also

External links

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