How the whale of an airliner came to be…
The Airbus 380 is said to be the biggest and heaviest passenger jet in the sky, and can hold more people than any other jet. Forty thousand spectators gathered and cheered as they watched the largest passenger plane ever built take off on its maiden voyage. Then they waited four hours for it to land.
The Airbus 380 is a double deck, wide body, four engine jet. It is both longer and taller than a Boeing 747, and can hold as many as 550 passengers.
The aircraft is about 200 feet long, with a wing span well over 200 feet, and is seven stories high from the ground to the top of its tail. It runs on four powerful mega size engines, and is made of extremely lightweight materials. The flight control system is more sophisticated than any other, in terms of commercial aviation. The company (Airbus) invested 12 billion dollars into the design and creation of the Airbus 380. The Airbus factory in Hamburg, Germany, is big enough to house four Airbus 380s. Once the Airbus 380 survived its maiden flight, the plan was for airplane factory workers to crank out one A380 every week.
All other flights were cancelled at the airport of Toulouse, so the Airbus 380 could land. Forty thousand spectators appeared to cheer the plane on as it landed. It was a pretty exciting moment in commercial aviation history.
As of July of 2016, 193 Airbus 380s have been built. The aircraft’s primary users are Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar Airways with a few at Air France and other carriers. The future of the A380 is in doubt as orders of the super jumbo have been very slow. The jet is too big for many markets. The A380 continues to be a drain on Airbus’s balance sheet.