The remaining years of the Airbus A380‘s flights have become limited, despite its commercial debut only 14 years ago.
Although passengers loved it for its spaciousness and the comfort it provided, airlines did not share the same sentiment due to its operational costs.
The focus shifted more towards the latter part of the aircraft when Airbus finally delivered the last-ever A380 to its new owners, Emirates Airlines, putting an end to 18 years of production.
The giant aircraft was designed at a time when larger planes, capable of carrying hundreds of passengers between major hubs, were seen as an attractive proposition.
However, the shift that occurred with the introduction of smaller aircraft into the aviation industry, particularly for use in smaller airports, had a negative impact on its sustainability.
Whether you plan to experience a flight on this aircraft or not, here are 10 of the most fascinating facts about this unique plane.
1-Larger than ever
As the longest complete passenger aircraft and the only double-decker ever built, the A380 is extremely large. Theoretically, it can carry a maximum of 853 passengers if all seats are in economy class. However, no airline has configured the aircraft to accommodate that many passengers, and the highest recorded capacity is 615 people in economy and business class.
2- Miles of wiring
Each A380 aircraft contains over 430 kilometers of electrical cables and wires. The installation of these wires was so challenging that it was partly blamed for some initial delays in the aircraft’s production. In 2009, Airbus simplified the process by speeding up the installation of wire supports, placing around 80,000 of them in each aircraft.
The size and weight of the A380 can cause air disturbances for smaller aircraft flying nearby, known as “wake turbulence.” In 2017, a small private plane flipped in the air when it crossed the path of an A380. Modern guidelines suggest that light aircraft should wait for 4 minutes before taking off or landing on the same runway used by an A380.
4- Plenty of paint
covering the entire surface area of the A380, which is approximately 11.5 square kilometers, requires 950 gallons of paint. The standard paint layer adds 1,400 pounds to the weight of the aircraft, and the process usually takes around two weeks.
5-No need for light packing
The cargo compartment of an A380 can hold around 3,000 bags. Two loading belts, one at the front and one at the rear, can be used simultaneously to speed up the process.
6-A global aircraft
Every A380 is made up of 4 million individual parts produced by 1,500 companies from 30 different countries. These parts are transported to Toulouse, France, where the final assembly of the aircraft takes place.
7-More space than a basketball court
With its full-length double-deck, the A380 provides approximately 1.8 square kilometers of usable floor space, which is about 40% more than the second-largest aircraft, the Boeing 747-8.
8- You can own a piece of it
Although the latest A380 has just been delivered, Emirates Airlines has already retired its first A380 received 14 years ago and handed it over for recycling, transforming it into furniture pieces. The pre-order items at the Dubai Airshow in November included coffee tables made from wheels, clocks made from wing fuel panels, and the entire 24-meter-long aircraft tail.
9- Not for every airport
Due to its size, the A380 cannot operate in all airports, and many had to make modifications to accommodate the massive carrier. In Munich, special gates had to be built to accommodate the aircraft’s tail. Airbus states that around 140 airports worldwide can handle the A380, with over 400 airports able to accept it in case of an emergency landing.
10- Partial comeback
The aviation industry was heavily impacted by the pandemic, and the A380 was affected even more. Lufthansa and Air France have not returned their A380s to service after suspending them, and both airlines retired their fleets. Qatar Airways sent half of its A380 fleet into permanent storage. On the other hand, Qantas, British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, and Korean Air announced that they would resume A380 services.