The world’s biggest jetliner, Airbus A380 recently celebrated its tenth in-service anniversary. At the same time Singapore Airlines which received the first A380 in 2007, recently retired the aircraft, returning it to a German leasing group.
Anyhow, the A380 contains many credentials. It has a unique double-decker style, graceful long wings, and engine operation so silent that pilots were disturbed by even crying babies. A380 is relatively green, with 50 percent less CO2 emissions per passenger than any other aircraft.It measures 239 feet in length, with a wingspan of 262 feet. Being a double-decker it’s 79 feet tall. The plane has a maximum take-off weight of 1,234,600lbs, but a maximum landing weight of 850,984lb. All that weight is pushed along by the aircraft’s four 70,000lb thrust engines, either the Rolls Royce Trent 900 or the General Electric / Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance GP7200. It could accommodate 555 passengers in three service classes, although an all-economy configuration could carry as many as 800. The plane has a range of 15,500 km, and it can fly long routes fairly quickly, with a cruising speed of up to .85 Mach, or around 1020kmph.
In short the A380 is a remarkable aircraft. But its sales record is not so remarkable. With just 217 delivered since its first commercial flight in 2007, the Airbus A380 is in danger of becoming an antique whose survival seems linked to the whims of a few ultra-wealthy Middle Eastern sheiks.
The signs of times indicate the imminent close down of this wonder aircraft. For example, there were no orders for the A380 at the Dubai Airshow this year. home base in the Gulf for the plane’s biggest customers. Between them, Emirates has had 100 A380’s delivered, Etihad of Abu Dhabi 10 and Qatar 8, for a total of 118 of the 217 A380s delivered so far. Though Emirates could order for another 36 aircrafts, the Emirates President Tim Clark is reportedly concerned that Airbus could shut down production at any time.
With a lack of orders, and the industry shifting to smaller but more versatile aircraft, it seems the aviation giant A380 may face an exit.