The Airbus 380

With Airbus 380 to be in India soon; with some major airlines like KingFisher Airlines getting them for their International flights; lets take a look at how the Airbus actually looks like:

The Airbus 380

The Airbus A380 is the world’s largest passenger plane. It is also the heaviest and the costliest commercial passenger aircraft ever built. If you want to buy it, it will cost you more than $300 million apiece.

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.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS. It began life as a French-German consortium in 1970 that was soon joined by Spain and later Britain. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, with subsidiaries in North America, China and Japan, Airbus Industrie draws on a global network of more than 1,500 suppliers in over 30 countries.

Airbus developed the A380 as the most spacious and efficient airliner ever conceived. This 525-seat aircraft (853, if configured for only economy clasa) is designed to deliver an unparalleled level of comfort.

The A380 redefines the meaning of comfort for all passengers – whether they are premium customers in First and Business class, or leisure travelers in the Economy cabin.

Its double-deck passenger cabins are wider than other airliners in service today, offering the possibility for wider seats and aisles, along with more open spaces and access to optional passenger amenities such as business centres and social areas.

A380 has 33 per cent more seats compared to a 747-400 but 50 per cent more cabin area and volume.

To create the A380 cabin, the most spacious and comfortable yet designed for a large commercial aircraft, Airbus went to great lengths to find out what passengers themselves wanted.

Vast cabin mock-ups were conducted in eight major cities on three continents and the views of 1,200 frequent travellers – male and female and from a range of cultures and nationalities – were recorded.

Compared to a 747, the A380 has larger windows and overhead bins, and 60 cm of extra headroom.

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.

The aircraft has 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.

The A380 has bigger seats and more space between them.

The A380 will fly on the busiest routes. Singapore Airlines was 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, has spending $850 million in terminal and airfield modifications to accommodate the super jumbo.

No it is not a luxury hotel room!

This is a first class seat bed on board the first Airbus A380 superjumbo.

Some airlines have opted to offer 12 first class single suites on its first Airbus A380 flight. Two suites joined together becomes a double suite fitted with a 23-inch — yes 23-inch — television and beds that turn into leather day chairs.

Coffee in bed, anyone?

The A380 will change the way we fly. Especially for the wealthy.

Business class passengers — 60 seats on this flight — had access to an in-flight bar.

This is what an A380 library, a shopping kiosk, a communication centre 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 has more space for in-flight sales and it could have a duty-free shop onboard.

he A380 cockpit has eight identical large interactive displays on the main instrument panel, with cursor control provided through a track-ball.

The displays provide a much larger screen area with clearer presentations, and they are augmented by a HUD (head-up display) that increases pilot situational awareness, particularly during the approach and landing phases.

The Brake-to-Vacate system, designed by a multinational Airbus team, helps ease airport congestion and reduce the amount of time an aircraft remains on the runway.

Enabling pilots to select a runway exit while the aircraft is making its landing approach, Brake-to-Vacate uses the auto-flight, flight controls, and auto-brake systems to regulate deceleration after touchdown.

This allows the aircraft to reach a specified exit at the correct speed under optimum conditions.

Folks travelling on the A380 in the economy class will not exactly be slumming it. This plane offers much more room for long legs that may prevent air travel-induced illnesses like deep vein thrombosis.

It is, no doubt, a spacious plane. In an economy-only configuration, it can accommodate 853 people.

Despite its ability to carry 35 per cent more passengers than its competitor, the A380 burns 12 per cent less fuel per seat – reducing operating costs and minimising its effects on the environment at the same time through fewer emissions.

The A380 burns fuel per passenger at a rate comparable to that of an economical family car.

Thanks to the incorporation of the latest advances in structures, materials, aerodynamics, systems and engine design, the A380 provides a direct operating cost per seat which is 15-20 per cent lower than the 747-400.

New-generation engines, combined with an advanced wing and landing gear design makes the A380 significantly quieter than other airlines – enabling the very large aircraft to meet strict local regulations at airports around the world.

In passenger operations, the A380 retains significant cargo capability in its lower deck while accommodating 525-plus passengers on the two main decks.

The A380’s lower deck is designed to accept all standard underfloor cargo pallets and containers.

The A380 cabin is the quietest cabin in the sky. Reducing cabin noise levels increases passenger comfort and well-being, and is an important factor in limiting the fatigue normally associated with long haul travel.

Passengers that have flown in the A380 have confirmed its cabin to be significantly quieter.

The A380 flight deck is also the quietest in the skies, improving working conditions for the flight crew.

With its superior cabin design and unique servicing concept, and thanks to a close cooperation with the aircraft ground handling industry, the A380 can spend less time at the gate between two flights.

Initial production of the A380 was troubled by delays attributed to the 530 km (330 miles) of wiring in each aircraft.

Airbus announced the first delay in June 2005 and notified airlines that delivery would slip by six months. This reduced the number of planned deliveries by the end of 2009 from about 120 to 90-100.

Airbus so far has received orders for 192 aircraft. It has already delivered four to Singapore Airlines.

The new airplane, received on April 27 will operate the route from Singapore to Tokyo.

The other 3 Airbus A-380, currently fly from Singapore to Sidney (since October 25, 2007) and London (since March, 18, 2008).

Virgin Atlantic has announced plans to include casinos, double beds, and gymnasiums on its A380s.

Singapore Airlines offers twelve fully-enclosed first-class suites on its A380, each with one full and one secondary seat, full-sized bed, desk, personal storage, and 58-cm (23-inch) LCD screen at a 20 to 25 per cent price premium over standard first class seating.

Four of these suites are in the form of two ‘double’ suites featuring a double bed.

Emirates has not yet revealed their front-end A380 product although Qantas Airways has shown their product which features a long flat-bed that converts from the seat but does not have privacy doors.

First class passengers of Emirates’ it seems will be able to shower on the A380!

Airbus 380 is not just about comfort and space, but a lifetime’s experience.


Images:Georges Gobet/AFP/Getty Images

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