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NEWS: Airbus Unveils Giant A380 Plane

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posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 02:31 AM
A ceremony will be held Tuesday to mark the official unveiling of the world's largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380. Dogged by controversy over subsidies and coming in $2bn over budget, the aircraft is due to begin service in 2006. The plane is as wide as a football (soccer) pitch is long, its length is similar to two blue whales laid end-to-end, and it will hold 500 passengers.
Tuesday's official unveiling of the enormous Airbus A380 will be a milestone in aviation history.

The ceremony will mark more than a decade of development of what is widely seen as a triumph of design and engineering.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Although this is clearly a very, very cool piece of equipment, there are serious question marks over it's intended use and over the role of the European Union subsidies that helped make it a reality.

Most analysts agree that it will, in fact, change the face of air travel, but not necessarily for the better: it's primary use may turn out to be as a "cattle-class" mass transporter, used to by failing airlines to cut costs. This could have disastrous consequences, particularly for the environment.

The ceremony will be attended by Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Their attendance highlights the fact that, without billions of Euros in subsidies, this plane would probably never have been built.

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
OP/ED: Airbus and Its Continued Subsidies By Europe (Part I)
Airbus parent brands itself "American," plans more work in U.S.

[edit on 20-1-2005 by Banshee]

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 04:09 AM
wouldn't the larger scale bring a lower average exhaust pollution per passenger as opposed to putting all these passengers in 2 or 3 planes??

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 04:28 AM
Yes, but I think the idea is that they'd be able to sell really cheap long haul seats, which would create more and more passgenger traffic, similar to what's been happening in Europe with all the low-cost airlines. People are jetting off to Prague or wherever fora day or two with hardly a second thought.

From reading some of the other links, it appears that the airline industry sees it differently; they're expecting this development to enhance the luxury/business end of the market.

Time will tell, I guess...this thing is going ahead regardless!

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 05:05 AM
THe A380 has a fuel efficiency of 3 litres per passenger per 100km. This is a LOT better than the 747. I shall repost some of a previous post I made:

A A380-800 carrying 550 passengers costs $270million.
A 747-400 carrying 436 passangers costs $215million.
Both work out at roughly $0.5million per passenger.

The 747-400 has a range of 14,205km, with a max fuel capacity of 63,700gallons.
The A380-800 has a range of 15,100km, with a max fuel capacity of 81,900gallons.

That gives the 747-400 a rate of 0.2km/g.
And the A380 a rate of 0.18km/g.

Or, based on passenger numbers, the 747-400 has a rate of 1.02 gallons of fuel per 100km per passenger. The A380 has a rate of 0.9 gallons of fuel per 100km per passenger. (work all that out myself, phew). This gives the Airbus a more efficient fuel cost when carrying a full passenger load.

Thats from this thread:

This aircraft will do no more damage to the environment than if the airlines bought 747s instead. And if they were used as 'cattle-transporters' then the efficiency goes up.

Yes, there are questions over subsidies, loans etc, but the same can be said for the 7E7 and Boeing. Since both sides have since agreed to not take the case to the WTO, we will probably see an updated 1992 agreement come into effect soon.

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 05:52 AM
I don't see Fred in this thread- must be sulking

I'm sure that over a million miles the cost per seat mile savings will offset costs, but I would have thought with all the advances this baby would be even better vs. Boeing.

How do you suppose it stackes up flying half full?

The cargo version will help lower long distance hauling costs. Look for a massive amount of sales after the first few get the bugs worked out.
Oh, I can't believe the 'body' is 100 meters wide- no way. This must be the wing span but the article says this is 79.

[edit on 17-1-2005 by JoeDoaks]

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 06:57 AM
Wow, I'm looking forward to seeing the A380 in it's launch livery; it's a beauty alright and I'm looking forward to seeing it painted up properly 'in the composites/metal'!

The pics released so far show it to be huge (especially when you notice the scale provided by the people standing around, the jet engines especially look enormous).

I wonder what the ultimate 'stretch' potential & specs of it is?

Imagine the Airbus 'family pic' when the A380 & A350 become available for it.


(Sympathies Fred, Boeing, USA etc etc)

- ok, now cue the sour grapes bunch.

[edit on 17-1-2005 by sminkeypinkey]

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 07:58 AM
Sminkey, think of this

The A380-800 weighs 350tonnes fully laden. The wings designed for the A380 can take 750tonnes PLUS safety margins.

Now theres some potential.

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 11:10 AM
My uncle works for Boeing and showed me some corporate commercials that were designed to sell the 7E7 over the A380 to airlines. They are pretty funny... In one the ticket checker is calling out the seat numbers for the passengers to board starting with rows 875-900. Then hours later it becomes dark with crickets chirping in the background and finally rows 1-10 are called. By this time passengers are going insane.

Boeing seems to be more in tune with what airlines want in the future, and it is not bigger airliners. Large aircraft are efficient only when they are filled to capacity... According to my uncle Boeing believes the future are more airplanes like the 777 and 7E7... Planes that can be filled to capacity and give the airline the ability to make direct flights to regional airports (airports too small for planes like the 747 and A380). Additionally I believe the operational cost to a 777 is much less than what the A380 will be... THe A380 is a few decades too late IMO...

[edit on 17-1-2005 by tacitblue]

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 11:20 AM
Saw an advert this week friom Singapore Airlines "come fly the A380". Will be doing so as soon as I can get a weekend off. Eat your heart out guys.

posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 11:55 AM
Hmm, waiting in line while 800 people board the plane . . . . and the de-planing at the end of the flight. How do people get out in case of an emergency, with their seat cushions no less.

I saw a video on the building of the A380. It's a very impressive piece of machinery with a very large number of parts and interconnections. I will wait a few years before climbing onto that engineering marvel. Not to throw a chill on the party, but Murphy's law has earned my respect. As with everything else new, there will be kinks to be worked out over time.

You all enjoy the ride while I wait and see.

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 02:17 AM
Dixon, I don't think you'll be doing that too soon: the first one won't be flying until mid-06, according to the sources I've read.

And now I'm confused: the original story talked about 800 passengers, then I heard a news report talking about 500 (and edited my original post accordingly), then this morning I heard one that said "up to 850".

Anyone know The Truth??

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 02:24 AM

Originally posted by JoeDoaks
I don't see Fred in this thread- must be sulking

Sulking about what. I never bagged on the plane itself mind you. However, I do agree with Boeing predicitions of the future. As part of the "EU Deal" you should be proud that your hard earned tax subsadies came to good use.

In regards to the number of passangers. Since the A380 is brand new, there is alot of stretch potenital with the airframe. It is not inconcieveable that you will see a bargain airline have a stretched high density version with 1000+ passangers. I am skeptical thought with THAT many in regards to evacuations and the baggage nightmare of 1000 people disembarking at once. 800 may push things to thier limit. The 560 is the normal 3 calss layout I think, but if they go for a high density model (The 747-400D seat 560 or so) 800 is well wihin reach.

The 747 is pretty much tapped out in this regard and would require a major redesign to be made much larger than it is now.

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 02:54 AM

Originally posted by Azeari of the Radiant Eye the original story talked about 800 passengers, then I heard a news report talking about 500 (and edited my original post accordingly), then this morning I heard one that said "up to 850".

Anyone know The Truth??

These are the different models out there:

A380-700 Originally known as A3XX-50 or A3XX-50R, proposed extended range model with shortened fuselage for 481 passengers
A380-800 Originally known as A3XX-100, first production model seating 555 passengers
A380-800C7 Proposed combination passenger/cargo model based on A380-800 with room for 7 cargo pallets
A380-800C11 Proposed combination passenger/cargo model with room for 11 pallets
A380-800F Originally known as A3XX-100F, dedicated freighter based on -800 model
A380-800R Proposed extended range model based on A380-800 for 555 passengers
A380-800S Proposed reduced range model based on -800
A380-900 Originally known as A3XX-200, proposed stretch model with longer fuselage for 656 passengers
A380-900S Proposed reduced range -900 model

Neither of those planes mention 800 passengers but I think they can rearrange the seating to cram 800 people into the A380-800 or A380-900.

This is what Branson of Virgin Atlantic has to say on it:

"The capability exists for some airlines to put up to 800 passengers on board their A380s, but at Virgin we believe that we stay ahead of the competition by looking after the passenger, which is why we will only seat 500 people. link

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 02:55 AM
too bad only one airport can fit this plane.....really to adapt airports to fit it will cost more than buying 7e7's or 777's......i think this plane will hurt airbus.

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 02:58 AM
Drudge has some photos of the inside of the Airbus-A380:

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 07:09 AM
Airports, the world over, have been spending to prepare for the A380 for years. This is actually happening so it is difficult to see how it is meant to 'hurt' sales.

San Francisco has already been modified and Los Angeles is about to be for instance.

Airbus A380 actually takes off from a shorter runway than a 747-400!
So, claims that it is hard to handle are actually all about spacing between two adjacent A380's at the terminal due to it's enormous wingspan and not the requirements of the strip itself.

As for the idea that 550 - 800 can't get on or off the plane quickly?
Jeez, if that's what they're reduced to that's just rather sad and pathetic.
Have you seen how many entry and exit points the plane has?
If airlines try to choose not to use them you can bet they'll soon be told!

How is handling a couple of A380's landing at once any different to todays common situation where several 747s come in at once?

Those clinging to the notion that Airbus have it all wrong and that Boeing's view of the future for the future of the airline business may be the more accurate should consider the impact of the A350 and the sales Boeing's 7E7 lost the day that one was announced.
We have it all covered.

......and the so-called 'weight problem' has been fully resolved, it's now lighter than original spec which will feed nicely into further fuel efficiencies or weight carriage.

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 07:21 AM
I don't know about you guys, but I'm getting a very ominous 'Titanic' feeling about this bird!

i.e. It is said to be the largest, most luxurious plane ever built which can carry the most passengers...blah blah blah...

I hope that the 'maiden' voyage won't be a trans-atlantic flight...LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Anyway, it just seems to me that it is very un-natural to put that many people in the sky on just one aircraft!

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 07:34 AM
AceofBase, thanks for the great photos. But I would like to know if this baby has got windows in the john. I flew the 340 when it was first delivered to Singapore Airlines and my my, the view was stupendous from where I was standing and seated (at various times of the flight)

Well, the first one with Snigapore Airlines will only be fitted with 480 seats. This, I understand from the Airlines' interview, is to focus on comfort for passengers. "We have decided to offer our passengers space, and our first and business classes wll be very luxurious".

Also read that Richard Branson promised that when they (6 units) are delivered to Virgin, they will have double beds and a casino on board : "So, alongside our casinos, you'll have at least two ways to get lucky on our flights".

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 01:23 PM
Dobbie, I hesitated to make the "Titanic" comparison, though it did come to mind. Airline disasters happen far too often, whether by natural causes, human error, or human evil. If a disaster strikes one of these birds it will be a major catastrophic event. In a perfect world this plane might be the perfect conveyance. The world is not what it could and ought to be and seems to be getting worse. I'll stay with the lower capacity models, thank you.

[edit on 1/19/2005 by dubiousone]

posted on Jan, 19 2005 @ 02:19 PM
I have a few questions, what happens if the plane has an in flight emergency and needs to land? Most airports will not be equipped to handle them considering that runways have to be wider not to mention taxi way problems. Oh and let us not forget the runway bridges have to be stronger.

Then we have this scenerio. Scheduled flight takes off from London to NYC and NYC gets closed in by weather. Does the plane turn around and head back to London or perhaps fly on to LAX or SF? Logan in Boston from what I hear has no intentions of expanding at this time, the same applies to MPS and residents of CGO are fighting the proposed expansion there.

Kind of makes one wonder if Airbus even considered all these problems.

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