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The World's largest passenger Jet

by lalitha biju on 1/19/2005 | Comments | Viewed 6974 time(s) | Full Page View
This article was originaly published in Rediff.com

The Airbus A380. Simply put it's the world's largest passenger plane. It is also the heaviest and the costliest commercial passenger aircraft ever built.

The super jumbo is gigantic, like a Titanic in the sky. It's tail stands seven stories high; and the plane is as wide as a soccer field, stretching 260 feet from wingtip to wingtip. It is also as long as two blue whales.

The A380 was unveiled with grand fanfare at the Jean-Luc Lagardere Final Assembly Line Hall in Toulouse, France, on Tuesday.

It can seat 555 passengers, about 30 per cent more than a Boeing 747; but it can actually hold 800 people.

When fully loaded it will weigh up to 560 tonnes. It has an 118-tonne fuel supply, which is more than two fully loaded Boeing 717s in weight.

Yet, it will be one of the fastest aircraft, capable of speeds of about 650 mph (0.85 Mach) and can fly up to 15,000 miles.

If you wish to buy it, it will cost you $281 million, but big discounts are available.

The ultimate in luxury: The A380 is the ultimate in luxury. It has three decks: the top two for passengers and the lower one available for a medical centre, shopping or a fast-food franchise.

This is the Airbus design for a first-class bed. The aircraft will also have new features like spas, casinos, gyms, bedrooms, and duty-free shops. Some airlines also plan to fix staterooms with beds, showers, a water feature, a double-width staircase between decks, and luxurious, book-lined club-style bars.

The A380 has wider seats and aisles, open spaces for passengers to stretch their legs and access to lower-deck amenities, thus offering unparalleled comfort.

The A380 generates only half the noise level at take-off and flight as compared with other aircraft. It meets the most stringent international certification and safety requirements, and uses the latest technologies for materials, systems and industrial processes.

More comfort than ever before: The A380 has bigger seats and more space between them.

It is also more fuel efficient -- burning 1.3 gallons per passenger per 100 miles, which the company says is comparable to the fuel economy of a small turbo-diesel car.

The A380 will fly on the busiest routes. Singapore Airlines will be the first to fly the A380 in mid-2006 on high-traffic routes, especially to London, New York, Tokyo and Sydney.

BAA, the London Heathrow airport operator, is spending $847 million in terminal and airfield modifications to accommodate the super jumbo. Some pilots feel that the size of the plane could be a problem during emergencies when it is required to land at smaller airfields which cannot accommodate it.

All aboard a jet plane! This is what an A380 library, a shopping kiosk, a communication center would look like.

The plane also has a fitness centre. Some airlines even plan to have a swimming pool on board and will also do away with the traditional trolley service during meal times and will have self-service food counters for its passengers.

The aircraft will have more space for in-flight sales and it could have a duty-free shop onboard.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS. Based in Toulouse, France, it is incorporated under French law as a simplified joint stock company or SAS (Société par Actions Simplifiée).

A cut above the rest: The staircase that takes you from one deck to the other too is tastefully done.

To date as many as 13 customers have made orders for 139 A380s. These include 11 airlines, one express cargo carrier (FedEx, 10 aircraft) and one leasing company (ILFC, 10 aircraft). The airlines include Emirates, (43 aircraft, plus 2 leased planes); Lufthansa (15 aircraft), Qantas (12 aircraft), Singapore Airlines (10 aircraft), Air France (10 aircraft), Virgin Atlantic (6 aircraft), Malaysia Airlines (6 aircraft), Thai Airlines (6 aircraft), Korean Air (5 aircraft), Etihad (4 aircraft) and Qatar Airways (2 aircraft).

The A380's modules are pre-assembled at Airbus plants around Europe and transported by sea, river barge and then road to Toulouse in south-west France for final assembly.

High-tech bar: This how the bar and chill-out lounge in the A380's first-class will look like.

Airbus is 80 per cent owned by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., a consortium formed in 2000 by France's Aerospatiale Matra, Germany's DaimlerChrysler Aerospace and Spain's Construcciones Aeronauticas SA. The rest is held by Britain's BAE Systems Inc. EADS has a dual leadership structure, with a French and a German as co-CEOs. Noël Forgeard is the company's CEO.

It has about 45,000 employees at sites mainly in Germany, France, Britain and Spain.

The A380 Family starts from a baseline passenger aircraft with a capacity of 555 passengers in three classes, and a range of up to 15,000 km. The freighter version, the A380F, will carry a payload of 150 tonnes over 10,400 km.

The A380 can be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines or GP7200 engines from The Engine Alliance (a General Electric and Pratt & Whitney joint venture).

Boeing 747 vs Airbus 380
Boeing 747 Airbus 380 (Rs)
Seating

Typical 416 (max 524)

Typical 555 (max 840)

Internal cabin width

6.1 m

6.58 m

Length wing to wing

64.4 m

79.8 m

Length nose to tail

70.7 m

73 m

Width

19.4 m

24.1 m

Flight range

13,450 km

15,000 km

Cruising speed

0.855 Mach

0.85 Mach