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Airbus A380

France (2007)
Picture of Airbus A380 Wide-Body, Long-Range Commercial Passenger Airliner
Picture of Airbus A380 Wide-Body, Long-Range Commercial Passenger Airliner Picture of Airbus A380 Wide-Body, Long-Range Commercial Passenger Airliner
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The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger airliner currently in service anywhere in the world.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Airbus A380 Wide-Body, Long-Range Commercial Passenger Airliner.  Entry last updated on 1/29/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Developed as a direct competitor to the hugely successful Boeing 747 line, Airbus introduced their wide-body, long-range jet airline A380 series on October 25th, 2007. Origins of the aircraft lay in the early 1990s and came to fruition in June of 1994 under the project "A3XX" designation. The program then underwent various design studies before receiving the official company go-ahead in December of 2000 with the aircraft now carrying the official "A380" designation. The design was refined by 2001 with components already being worked on in early 2002. At its core, the aircraft is an international passenger/freight hauler marketed for long distance routes and under a technology-laden, fuel efficient approach when compared to the massive, 1960s-era Boeing 747 series.

The A380 netted several launch customers before the first aircraft had even flown. Production began in 2004 to which a prototype was first unveiled at Toulouse, France on January 18th, 2005. It received its first flight some months later on April 27th, 2005. The manufacturing of the aircraft consisted of a multinational logistics path that included the nations of Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and, of course, the home country of France. A total of five airframes were reserved for evaluation service and certification for the product was then achieved in December of 2006.

By this point, development costs had appropriately ballooned and production faced delays of several months which then evolved into years. The line was formally introduced with launch customer Singapore Airlines on October 25th, 2007 (as "AQ380") though delays continued into 2008. Emirates then followed as a customer in August of 2008. The 100th aircraft of the family was delivered to Malaysia Airlines on March 14th, 2013 and, to date (January 2014), some 119 A380s have been completed with production ongoing as of this writing. The complete list of operators to date includes Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Air France, Lufthansa, Korean Air, China Southern Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways International and British Airways.

The cockpit of the A380 utilizes dual controls for both pilots and an all-glass approach with five large, full-color multi-function displays (MFDs). Throttle controls are managed at the center console and each pilot is given side-stick controller input mimicking the configuration of a modern military fighter aircraft. The passenger section includes a two-story approach (with belly cargo level) which promotes a very deep fuselage for the aircraft when viewed externally in profile. In a three-class configuration, the A380 can haul some 555 passengers and as many as 850 in a single-class configuration.


Picture of the Airbus A380 Wide-Body, Long-Range Commercial Passenger Airliner
Picture of the Airbus A380 Wide-Body, Long-Range Commercial Passenger Airliner


Overall length of the airframe is equal to 239 feet with a wingspan reaching out to 262 feet and height of 80 feet. The A380 weighs in at 610,000lbs and features a maximum take-off weight of 1.3 million pounds fully loaded (freighter model). Power is served through an Engine Alliance GP7270 (70,000lbs thrust), Rolls-Royce Trent 970-972/B (70,000-72,000lbs thrust) or Engine Alliance GP7277 (76,000lbs thrust) and Rolls-Royce Trent 977/B (76,000lbs thrust) turbofan engines (passenger and freighter models respectively). Maximum speed is 630 miles per hour with a cruise speed of 590 miles per hour being reported and service range is out to 9,750 miles (6,400 for freighter model). The aircraft can reach a service ceiling of 43,100 feet.

To date (January 2014), the A380 series has not been involved in any fatal crashes. A November 2010 flight from Singapore to Sidney was forced to return following an engine failure though no casualties or injuries were reported in the incident. The Rolls-Royce engines in play were then reviewed and an oil leak was found which forced other Trent engines to be reviewed and repaired. Further review unveiled cracks in the wing which forced further assessment of all active A380s.

The A380-800 is expected to be revised through an improvement initiative announced in 2010. This will result in an increased maximum take-off weight and operational range. This should become the next standardized passenger model available. The A380-900 is an enlarged variant (though since officially delayed) with more passenger seating (up to 650 in a standard configuration). The A380F represents the freighter model variant though early orders were retracted by customers due to delays and Airbus has currently shelved the model for the near future.

June 2017 - Announced at the 2017 Paris Air Show was the A380plus, an upgraded A380 offering. This product features winglets and modified wings for a 4% reduction in fuel use. Additionally, the internals have been reworked to accommodate up to eighty more seats. While the MTOW of the aircraft has been increased to 1,274,000 tons, it retains its range capability. The A380plus is in response to the lowered demand in Jumbo Jet type aircraft, carriers moving towards more compact, nimble offerings in the current travel climate.

July 2017 - Falling market need and increased operating costs are putting the long-term future of the jumbo A380 in doubt.

September 2017 - An A380 modified with new drag-reducing, laminar-flow outer wing panels flew for the first time.

January 2018 - Airbus will continue production of A380 aircraft into the 2020s thanks to an order from Emirates Airline for 36 of the type (16 of these being option aircraft).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (634mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Airbus A380-800's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
119
119


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: France
Service Year: 2007
Classification Type: Wide-Body, Long-Range Commercial Passenger Airliner
Manufacturer(s): Airbus - France
Production Units: 119
Operational Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Australia; China; France; Germany; Iran; Malaysia; Singapore; South Korea; Thailand; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Airbus A380-800 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
2


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
239.50 ft


Meters
73 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
261.81 ft


Meters
79.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
79.07 ft


Meters
24.1 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
610,240 lb


Kilograms
276,800 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
1,234,589 lb


Kilograms
560,000 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Engine Alliance GP7270 OR Rolls-Royce Trent 970/B turbofan engines developing between 72,000lbf to 84,000lbf of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
634 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
1,020 kph


Knots
551 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
9,445 mi


Kilometers
15,200 km


Nautical Miles
8,207 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
43,028 ft


Meters
13,115 m


Miles
8.15 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• A380-800 - Base Passenger Hauler Model
• A380-800 (Improved) - Improved A380-800 with increased MTOW and increased range.
• A380-900 - Proposed (delayed) passenger model with more internal seating (650).
• A380-800F - Base Freighter Model (delayed).
• A380plus - Announced at Paris Air Show 2017; upgraded A380 with fuel-saving winglets; revised internals for an increase of 80 more passenger seats; MTOW increased to 1,274,000lb while retaining same range capability.