Say Goodbye to the Double Decker Airplane
Have you ever flown a double decker airplane? If you haven't, don't feel bad. The Airbus' A380 Double Decker airplane never really became mainstream. Despite its initial popularity, most airlines preferred airplanes that were a bit easier on fuel.
As a result of its unpopularity, Airbus is set to discontinue production of the double decker behemoth in 2021. Let’s take a look at the A380’s 12-year history.
A380’s production started in 2000 when Germany, France, and the UK loaned Airbus over €3 billion/$3.3 billion. Although this amount was only a third of the projected cost, €9.5 billion/$10 billion, Airbus continued on its mission. Their goal was to build an airplane capable of competing with Boeing’s 747 jumbo jet.
By 2004, Airbus was forced to recalculate their original estimations. Apparently, the sheer size of the A380 made traditional development methods ineffective. After learning about this problem and finding a workaround, Airbus updated projected expenses to be closer to €10.4 billion/$12.8 billion.
Despite this monetary setback, the Airbus started testing the A380 the following year in 2005. After managing to reach Mach 0.96, as well as passing the FAA and EASA tests, the hefty aircraft was cleared for commercial use.
And in 2007, the double decker airplane took its first official flight.
Extending the same length as the fuselage, the top deck is a bit narrower than the bottom. In total, the A380 boasts over 5,900 square feet of space. To put that into perspective, that’s almost double the amount of room in a Boeing 747. And all of that extra space is more than enough to house over 850 people.
A380 can go long-distance too. The bulky plane holds the 4th and 7th record for longest non-stop scheduled flight around the world.
In The End
Despite these impressive accomplishments, the A380 Airbus was unable to recoup the majority of their production expenses. Each aircraft only sells for roughly $445 million. And there aren’t many markets buying either. For example, the United States never got one.
Those that are still in operation, namely via Emirates, never fill up to max capacity. Average numbers are typically under 500 passengers. This has led to most airlines using the upper level for extra features, such as in-flight bars and showers.
Airbus is set to finish current orders by 2021 and are no longer accepting new requests.