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This time it really is over. Airbus chief executive, Tom Enders, recently announced the end of the A380, the largest commercial aircraft ever built. Despite reported investments of more than €14 billion, this iconic European project has not been as successful as was originally hoped. With only 234 units delivered out of 313 ordered over 13 years, it is far from the break-even point – originally estimated at 1,200 aircraft over 20 years. With orders drying up and production already running at a minimum, it was time for Airbus to stop the damage.
Long before its launch date, the A380 appeared to represent the future of Airbus, which anticipated that air traffic would double in the next 20 years. That's why it is both big – it can carry anywhere from 550 to more than 800 passengers on two full decks – and luxurious, with options such as private rooms, restaurants and bars – even an in-flight casino. Its engines are on average 30% more powerful than those of the Boeing 747 and are worth €13 million each – the value of a ton of gold for all four.
Weight - A380 - Designers - Structure - Carbon
To keep the overall weight down, the A380's designers used groundbreaking composite structure, including carbon ribs within aluminium wings. Equipped with the most advanced navigation system in commercial aviation, it can operate for more than 13 hours and fly more than 9,000 miles.
The aircraft is built on a continental scale: the wings are made in Wales, engines are made in England (Rolls Royce) or the US (Engine Alliance), the fuselage and the vertical stabiliser is built in Germany and the horizontal stabiliser in Spain. Final assembly is carried out in France. Each wing weighs 6.5 tons and is composed of tens of thousands of components, carrying the fuel, supporting the fuselage and channelling...
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