The Jumbo Jet of Europe

The Airbus A380 is so far the largest commercial aircraft ever built in the history of aviation. It was designed in the mid 1990's and first designated as A3XX to compete against Boeing's 747 Jumbo Jet. The aircraft was launched formally in 2000 and renamed A380. Although the last Airbus model was the A340, the number 8 was directly chosen because the fuselage cross section looks like an eight. The number 5 was attributed to a new model called A350 under study, a new widebody twinjet designed with composite materials to compete against Boeing's Dreamliner. For more than three decades Boeing had the pride of designing and building the 747, the first wide body aircraft ever designed, and the largest in terms of mass and capacity. Until the A380 arrived, Boeing had dominated the market of wide body airliner with its 747 jumbo jet.
When Boeing designed the 747 in the late 1960's, other US manufacturers such as McDD and Lockheed introduced the DC-10 and L-1011 Tristar respectively. The United States were dominating the world, at that time, selling wide body models to various major airlines around the world. It was to compete against the United States that the Airbus Industrie Consortium was created in the early 1970's with the aerospace industries of France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain. Airbus has, since its first model the A300, unveiled several models to compete against Boeing products, and it is now introducing the huge A380. The first flight of the A380 took place in 2005 but the manufacturer had to face several delays due to production problems, in delivering the aircraft to their customers. That year, 2005, the A380 showed up for the first time at the Paris Air Show and did a demonstration flight over the public. Also there was, as you can see in the picture I took when I was there, a full scale cabin mock up on display.

The A380 is available with two different power plants, one is the GP Engine Alliance, a joint venture with General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, and the other one is Rolls Royce. I am not surprised that Air France, which introduced its first A380 in 2009, has chosen the GP engine because General Electric is involved in it. Air France always had close relationships with General Electric.
First delivery took place end of October 2007, the first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines and entered service on the Singapore-Sydney flight. At Singapore Airlines, the lower deck is configured with First Class suites at the front and Economy Class cabin at the back, the upper deck is configured with Business Class Cabin at the front and Economy Class cabin at the rear of the cabin. Emirates and Qantas were the next two major carriers to introduce the A380 in 2008. Air France was the first European airline to introduce the type in service in 2009 on the busy CDG-JFK route. Other major airlines to follow include, Lufthansa, Korean Air, as well as a few other carriers around the world. Lufthansa and Korean Air introduced the A380 into passenger service in 2011.British Airways also ordered the A380 in the fall of 2007. Over 140 units have been ordered since its formal launch in December 2000.
As of July 2011, the Airbus A380 is flown by six major airlines around the World: Singapore which is first to introduce the type, Qantas, Air France, Emirates which is going to be the largest A380 operator, Korean Air and Lufthansa.
Aucun article
Aucun article