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Airbus A380 Review

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Airbus A Superjumbo
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Airbus A380 - The Superjumbo

We’re already extremely delayed to report the disruptive innovation of the Airbus A380. This plane enabled Emirates to put other established airlines companies under pressure. However, after the Arab airline Emirates reduced its order, there was no basis for continued production, as Airbus announced in February 2019. Woefully, Airbus scheduled the final delivery of an A380 for 2021.

The Boeing 747 Successor

The Boeing 747 sat for a long time on the grand throne of the largest passenger aircraft in the modern world. Hence, Boeing and Airbus talked eagerly for three years about powerfully building a joint successor. However, therein common was no mutual agreement due to various legitimate reasons. Therefore, the responsible Airbus engineers naturally started in 1996 to carefully develop a superjumbo under the official name A3XX.

Airbus carefully examined various versions of a superjumbo. Ultimately, they wisely decided on a unique plane with two main floors. Furthermore, Airbus promptly published this gigantic bird the chosen name Airbus A380. At the end of 1999, France, Germany, Spain and Great Britain gave the green light for the impressive building of this Superjumbo. Instantly following that, the ambitious project got presented to various potential buyers. In brief, Emirates and Air France represent the first airlines to buy this new Superjumbo. Even before the successful production of the primary components promptly began in 2002. Besides, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa also opted for the A380.

Maiden Flight

The first Airbus A380 flight took off on April 27th, 2005, at 10:29 AM local time, with 6 people on board from Toulouse/France.

The event, which many aviation journalists attended, widely covered around the world.

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Maximum Capacity - Airbus A380

The aircraft would have 853 passengers in one-class seating, hence replacing the Boeing 747 as the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

Airbus A380 First Delivery

The first effective delivery took place in October 2007 to Singapore Airlines. The plane fitted 471 seats in three classes in their A380, hence, using the upper deck for business class passengers. Thereafter, the next three A380s were also delivered to Singapore Airlines before, moreover, Emirates enthusiastically received its first Superjumbo in July 2008.

In September of the same year, the Australian Qantas, equally, followed as the third leading operator. In 2013, the 100th A380 went to Malaysia Airlines.

Airbus A380 in Action

While the Superjumbo mainly flies considerable distances, there are also ultra-short flights. Emirates has been operating efficiently from Dubai to Muscat since July 2019 flying 340 kilometres with a flight time of 1:10 hours. 

The currently most extended flight with an A380 is on top set by the same airline, namely from Dubai to Auckland. This flight comes with a considerable distance of 14,193 kilometres and a flying time of 16:05 countless hours, respectively. 

That is quite close to the longest scheduled flight with an Airbus A350-900ULR, 16,700 kilometres. Hence, breathtaking 18:45 flight time between Singapore and New York Newark by Singapore Airlines.

Airbus A380 Destinations

At present, the A380 serves the following destinations based on various flight schedules and websites:

Giant Aircafts not anymore in demand

2013 was merely the last year with a healthy order balance for the Superjumbo, with buyers ordering 42 A380s on balance. In the following year, there were only 13, in 2015, only two direct orders. In 2016 there were hopelessly no orders at all. In 2017 the negative balance was admittedly minus two, and in 2018, four due to cancellations. 2019 scarcely began with further removal of eight A380 by Qantas.

Hence, it seems merely that the dying days of giant aeroplanes in the passenger business are over. Also, the previous Superjumbo, the Boeing 747, is built nowadays merely as a freight version. Airbus had also planned a cargo version, the A380 F, but never implemented it. To date, Airbus has promptly delivered 234 A380s. Forty on top of that are to follow. Irrespective of the recent unfavourable news and controversial figures, the A380 undoubtedly possesses an excellent record in any case.

Too big, too heavy, unprofitable: the Airbus A380’s destructive path from prestige aircraft to discontinued model was already mapped out. The Corona crisis (see our blog “Covid-19“) radically anticipates the demise of the world’s largest passenger aircraft – and almost forces modern planes to the graveyard.

Runway ready to take off

Airbus A380 - The Giant

Even though the A380 is popular among distinguished passengers, it often proves challenging for undoubtedly leading established airlines to properly fill its vast size. Hence, Boeing did not attack the four-engine A380 with its modern version of a giant aircraft but modernised the 747 and built the 787 Dreamliner, a jet designed for more remarkable efficiency and point-to-point connections.

Some leading journals already report Air France wants to progressively eliminate its 10 Airbus A380s by 2023 or 2024. Furthermore, Qatar Airways also intends selling Superjumbo in the next few years. To this end, British Airways, Qantas, Emirates and Lufthansa will knowingly operate the Airbus A380 until further notice.

Flight schedule - Airbus A380

Emirates and its Airbus A380

To a great degree for the leading airline Emirates, the business model genuinely seems to base firmly on the Airbus A380 due to airport capacity issues. Probably now even more since Dubai halts the Mega-Airport Project “Al Maktoum International” as Gulf economies stumble. 

Despite this, various local news channels lately reported that Emirates, with a total order of 123 Airbus A380s soon, will phase out the more outdated models and that the number should stabilise at 115. However, this considerable number will be progressively reduced to 90 to 100 from 2025 onwards, although Emirates prominently mentioned that A380s would nonetheless be in extensive use in 2035.

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So Emirates, China Southern, Thai Airways, All Nippon Airways ANA, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Korean Air remain loyal to the Airbus A380 for the time being. British Airways is even considering expanding its fleet.

However, and this is good news for the Airbus A380 fans, the Superjumbo suddenly appears to operate for smaller airlines companies in Madagascar or Venezuela with the help of the Portuguese wet-lease specialist “Hi-Fly”.

Conclusion

The Airbus A380 remains our favourite aircraft. We often explicitly choose longer routes with the A380 in service. Its majestic way to land, roll to the dock, and the gentle way back to the sky is unattainable. In addition, the space on board is unsurpassable. Moreover, the plane is extremely quiet outside as well as inside and allows you to sleep without any problems, but unfortunately, you can hear the snoring of your seat neighbours.

We will undoubtedly miss the A380. We hope that Emirates and Singapore Airlines will use it for a long time to come. Sit back – connect your Apple Airpods and relax with Spotify.

Homepage Airbus – Aerospace Pioneer

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SeventyOne

SeventyOne. Disruption and transformation are the only constants in this world. Hence, as the seasons’ change, simultaneously do business models, moreover at the same time, groundbreaking disruptive innovations appear. Hence, under those circumstances, you can get disruptive innovations the way you like them, and in contrast, something outside your authority alters everything unexpectedly, like a virus. Therefore, be ready.

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