- The Airbus A380 is a global collaboration, with over 1,500 companies from 30 countries contributing to its construction and nearly 4 million individual components used in its assembly.
- The A380 is incredibly spacious, with a usable floor area that is 50% larger than the Boeing 747-400. It also offers ample space for passengers and crew, particularly on long-haul flights.
- Despite its massive size, the A380 is controllable like any small jet, thanks to its horizontal stabilizer. In fact, the horizontal stabilizer of the A380 is slightly smaller than the wing span of the narrowbody A320.
Fifteen years after its debut in the passenger market, the Airbus A380 remains one of the best aircraft in terms of passenger experience. Here are the top ten interesting facts about super-jumbo.
1 Bigger than ever
Depending on the cabin configuration selected by the airline, the A380 can seat up to 853 passengers in a single class configuration. Every aircraft must pass the safety certification, which mandates the evacuation of all passengers within 90 minutes with half of the available emergency exits. During the A380 certification, all 853 mock passengers were able to safely exit the aircraft using 8 out of a total of 16 exits in less than 90 minutes. While none of the A380 operators chose the 853 configuration, Emirates has the highest density A380s with the occupancy of 615 passengers on select aircraft.
Photo: Thiago B Trevisan | Shutterstock
2 Millions of individual components
The size and design of the A380 allowed the use of nearly 4 million individual components. The aircraft is made of more than 2.5 million unique part numbers, which came from 30 countries around the world. The A380 is a true globalist when it comes to collaboration among companies and countries. More than 1,500 small and large companies (globally) have worked on the A380. Aircraft technicians use nearly 20,000 individual bolts to put together each of the three fuselage sections. The middle section has another 4,000 bolts on each side to attach the wings. Each one of the assembled parts adds the required strength to carry the load during flight.
Photo: Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock
3 More than 300 miles of electric cables
With over four million individual components, the aircraft requires hundreds of miles of electrical cables to connect all components, systems, and assemblies to the central network. The A380 is a technologically advanced aircraft, and hence, most systems are electronically controlled. Many pneumatic and hydraulic systems from older-generation aircraft are replaced with electronic systems on the A380. The aircraft has more than 300 miles (483 km) of electrical wires connecting aircraft’s cockpit, cabin, in-flight entertainment, and other critical systems. Notably, the extensive wiring and complex software of the A380 led to a two-year delay of the aircraft during the development phase.
4 Gigantic usable floor space
The A380 features a usable floor area that is 50% more than the Boeing 747-400. With a total usable space of 550 square meters, three tennis courts can easily fit in there. Similarly, just under three basketball courts can be accommodated within the floor space. If the available volume on the three decks (upper, lower, and cargo) of the A380 were to be filled with ping pong balls, it would require more than 35 million of them to fill the giant aircraft. The A380 remains one of the most spacious aircraft in the market. Both passengers and crew admire the much-needed available space, particularly on long-haul flights.
Photo: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock
5 Narrowbody wing or the super-jumbo stabilizer?
The span of the horizontal stabilizer of the A380 is slightly smaller than the wing span of the A320. The narrowbody A320 has a wing span of 34.9 meters, whereas the horizontal stabilizer span of the A380 is 30.4 meters. The A320 can accommodate only 160 passengers, as opposed to over 850 on the A380. The horizontal stabilizer of the A380 stands more than four stories high and provides pitch control, the smoothness of which is comparable to the A320. The aircraft may be heavy and humongous, but its controllability is similar to any small jet in the market.
6 The wings flutter by a measurable length
The sheer size of the A380 wings may deceive people in estimating their capabilities during flight. Some sections of the wings are manufactured using composite materials. As such, a significant weight reduction and robustness are achieved. The wing is capable of flexing (or fluttering) more than 13 ft (4 m) upwards during flight. The flexibility of the wings ensures the aircraft delivers on its promised efficiency while carrying tremendous passenger and cargo loads. Notably, the wings of newer aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, are made almost entirely of composite materials and can flex up to 25 ft (7.6 m).
Photo: Bradley Caslin I Shutterstock
7 Worldwide airports had to be overhauled
When the A380 began commercial operations in 2007, the only airports that would accommodate the jet were the ones having overhauled runways, taxiways, terminals, and air bridges. The aircraft weighs over 575 tons, more than twice the weight of the Statue of Liberty in New York, and has a wingspan of over 80 meters, which is as wide as an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The aircraft required reinforced runways and wider taxiways to operate at airports. The aircraft allows simultaneous passenger boarding from both decks. As such, terminal buildings and air bridges had to be overhauled to accommodate the larger-than-usual aircraft.
Photo: Aerovista Luchtfotografie / Shutterstock
8 The longest and shortest flights
The A380 has operated some of the longest and the shortest scheduled flights in the world.. Emirates operated the longest A380 flight from Dubai, UAE to Auckland, New Zealand. The flight clocks in at over 17 hours, covering a distance of over 8,800 miles (14,160 km). Emirates also operated one of the shortest scheduled flights on the A380 between Dubai and Muscat in Oman. The flight is a mere hop of 210 miles (338 km). More recently, Singapore Airlines ran an even shorter flight of 180 miles (290 km) between Singapore Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur Airport in Malaysia.
Photo: Craig Russell/Shutterstock
9 Luxury redefined
With its gigantic cabin size, the A380 provides extraordinary opportunities for airlines to be creative with their cabin offerings. Many full-service carriers, including Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways, offer luxury suites in their first class cabins. Unlike usual interactions between passengers, the aircraft makes the flying experience at a very personal level possible for passengers. Emirates and Etihad Airways offer fully functional showers in their first class cabins. Some airlines offer fully stocked bars with countertops and an on-display duty-free shop placed in between the first class and business class cabins. Such experiences are unique to the largest passenger aircraft in the world.
10 A piece of the super-jumbo is up for grabs
Emirates is the largest operator of the A380, with more than 100 aircraft in service. While the airline has recently taken the delivery of its last A380 (also the last aircraft ever made), the airline has already retired its first super-jumbo. A variety of consumer products and collectibles have been made from the aircraft, including furniture, decorative pieces, keychains, and souvenir tags. The recycling company has turned the Emirates aircraft into coffee tables, clocks, and other collectibles. The airline has sold the items through its website and multiple Emirates stores at Dubai International Airport (DXB). Aviation enthusiasts can own a piece of one of the most iconic aircraft ever produced.
What are your thoughts on the interesting facts about the Airbus A380? Tell us in the comments section.