18 May 2006

Airbus A380 - World's Largest Passenger Plane

The Airbus A380 is a plane that has superseded the Boeing’s 747 as the largest passenger airliner. In the early 90s, Airbus executives decided to challenge Boeing’s dominance in the large passenger jetliner market and so started the A380 program. The advent of the A380 has instantly killed off sales of the 747 and helped Airbus win orders in the jumbo market to become the world’s largest passenger plane producer.
15 customers to date including the largest order from Emirates, Lufthansa and Qantas.

73 m (237.25 ft)
500 to 840
555 in 3-class configuration
8,000 nm (can fly from New York to Hong Kong)
Maximum Speed:
0.89 Mach (652mph)
- New York to Hong Kong in 12h 21m
- New York to London in 5h 18m
US$285 million
Manufacturer says:
- Has about 13% lower fuel burn than the 747 and is first long haul plane to consume less than 3 litres of fuel per passenger over 100km, as efficient as an average family car.
- Cabin can be configured to include cocktail bars, double beds and mini-casinos.
- a 35% increase in passenger capacity over the 747-400 in standard 3-class configuration, along with a nearly 50% larger cabin volume.

The first A380 to enter into commercial service with Singapore Airlines performed a successful first flight on 7 May from Toulouse-Blagnac.
The first A380 for Singapore Airlines performed its maiden flight on Sunday 7 May, taking from the Toulouse-Blagnac airport at 10:30 local time on runway 32. The flight, which lasted two hours and 15 minutes took the aircraft toward Bordeaux then towards the Pyrénées before returning to Toulouse. The crew comprised pilots Harry Nelson and Armand Jacob. They were accompanied by Andrew Daws, Lead Flight Test Engineer, Christophe Bertrand, Flight Test Engineer, who monitored the information and data capture systems, Pascal Verneau, Test Flight Engineer, and Cabin Engineers Joel Rembert and Olivier Abric. A sequence of test was completed during the flight and included clearing the flight control systems and all flight levels, and checking the fuel and autopilot systems. Undercarriage emergency lowering was successfully tested, as was a full brake landing. The aircraft, with the airline’s colours on its tail, then flew to Finkenwerden (Hamburg) where it will get fitted with its cabin and painted. Singapore Airlines will be the first customer to operate the A380 in commercial service.

LONDON - The world's biggest passenger airliner landed at Europe's busiest airport Thursday to test whether London's Heathrow is ready for the Airbus A380.
En route from the Berlin Air Show — where Airbus was showcasing the double-decker this week — the plane flew over the Airbus plant in north Wales, where the carrier's huge wings are made.
"It is clearly quite a momentous day in U.K. aviation history," BAA Heathrow managing director Tony Douglas said before the aircraft's arrival.
The A380 will stay at Heathrow for airport-compatibility tests before returning to Berlin early Friday.
Heathrow operator BAA is spending some $850 million to upgrade the airport to accommodate the A380 and other anticipated ultra-large aircraft of the future. Other work has included runway resurfacing, upgrading runway lighting and the construction of new taxiways.
Douglas said BAA has widened and strengthened a runway to accommodate the A380, which has a list price of $300 million. New, larger baggage carousels also have been installed at Terminal 3 to accommodate the 555 passengers that can travel on the aircraft.
Toulouse, France-based Airbus has so far taken 159 firm orders from 16 airlines and freight companies for the A380, with dozens more on option. Airbus Chief Operating Officer Charles Champion said there are no remaining delivery slots before 2011.
Singapore Airlines Ltd. will be the first carrier to put the plane into passenger service by the end of the year — already six months behind its original schedule. The airline said Thursday it expected to take delivery of its first A380 in November and plans for the plane to enter commercial service in December.
Champion, however, declined to commit firmly to that timetable.
"The target of Singapore Airlines is to receive it in November, and our target is to fulfill that request but our situation is that we intend to deliver by the end of the year," he said.
The A380 will overtake Boeing Co.'s 747 as the world's largest commercial jet when it enters service. Boeing announced late last year that it is launching the 747-8, a more fuel-efficient version of its double-decker plane, to compete with the A380.
Other airlines that have ordered A380s include Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Dubai-based Emirates.
But a number of major carriers, including British Airways, have held back from committing themselves, preferring to see how the plane performs.
Airbus, majority owned by European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., announced in April that the A380 had passed its emergency evacuation tests by the European Aviation and Safety Agency and the U.S.
Federal Aviation Administration, an important step toward the superjumbo's official certification for commercial flights.
Earlier this year, a wing ruptured during ground tests. The company said the wings might need refinements at certain points as a result of the fracture, but any changes would not delay the delivery time.
BAA and Airbus staff will carry out a series of tests during the aircraft's brief stay in London, including crowd handling, Douglas said.

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