Celebrating 10 Years of the Airbus A380
At a time where the aviation industry seems to languish with innovation even going backwards at times – like Concord services ceasing – there has been one aeroplane that has managed to buck this trend a little: we’re talking about the huge double-decker of an aircraft, the Airbus A380.
The A380 has now been in service for 10 years and there have been 317 orders for this behemoth of an aircraft in that time (as of May 2015). By far the largest operator of this aircraft is Emirates with a staggering 61 already flying and a fleet to total, once all orders are filled, of 140. To put this in perspective, the next largest fleet of A380's if Singapore Airlines with 19 in service and growing to a fleet of 24, although Singapore was the first airline to take the first delivery of the aircraft.
Nowadays, it seems that an airline’s mettle and credibility is assessed somewhat through the ownership and operation of the Airbus A380s. We scoff and scorn at the airlines that haven’t got any yet and it seems to be a fact that passengers are actively seeking to travel on these aircraft in preference to the Boeing 747s and 777s which would usually operate on the same routes.
Once onboard the Airbus A380, it will in many ways feel as though you are just on one of the other aircraft mentioned above. To be honest, there isn’t much to differentiate it from other large widebodied jets. However, the A380 is double decked along its entire length – unlike the only other double decker aircraft, the Boeing 747, which is only partly so.
It is the top deck of the plane which tends to have the best seating configuration: often more like a Boeing 767 with a 2:3:2 arrangement. If you are travelling in an economy cabin, this sort of configuration is always preferable to a 3:4:3 plan, which is usually what you find downstairs on the A380 and on most other long-haul planes.
Most airlines configure the aircraft to accommodate approximately 500 passengers a statistic worth not thinking about when you are sitting at the end of the runway about to take off. Particularly when you start to ponder the amount of luggage that needs to come off before your own hots the carousel.
Truth be known, the Airbus A380 has been a welcome addition to the industry at a time where for this most part the world of aviation has become a little bit staid and uneventful. Here’s to plenty more decades of safe flying and let’s see what the next super jumbo jet will be like – we just know they’ll try to beat the A380 in some way!
See the list of A380 operators and how many each airline has ordered - click here
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