How much weight can an airplane carry

A380 - the largest passenger aircraft in the world

Status: 02/14/2019 12:00 p.m. | archive
The two-story Airbus A380 is the largest passenger aircraft in the world - but production will only run until 2021.

The aircraft manufacturer Airbus is slowly saying goodbye to its problem child. Production of the giant A380 will only run until 2021, as the company announced in February 2019. The aircraft was once the pride and joy of the European group: the A380 is the largest aircraft in the history of civil aviation to date. The aircraft with four engines and a wingspan of 79.8 meters can cover 15,200 kilometers without a stopover - that is, it can handle non-stop connections between the most important hubs in Europe, North America and Asia. But the recent low demand sealed the end.

Lufthansa: An outstanding aircraft

Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr sums up the dilemma of the giant jet in a nutshell: Spohr described the giant A380 as an "outstanding aircraft", but at the same time pointed to the limited economic efficiency. A profitable use of the A380 is "only possible on the extremely popular routes," said Spohr. Nonetheless, the aircraft is a "masterpiece" from Europe. "Our customers and our crews love the aircraft."

The head of the airline Qatar Airways, Akbar Al-Baker, gave the A380 a bad report. The giant jet is simply too heavy because its wings are designed for the long version that was never built.

The cockpit is between the two levels

The 72.7 meter long wide-body aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 575 tons is two-story, with seats on both floors. The cockpit is located between the levels. The basic version of the machine can accommodate a total of 555 passengers, while the Lufthansa version has seats for a total of 526 passengers on the two decks. First and Business Class are on the upper deck, Economy Class below.

Up to 853 seats

Upon request, the aircraft can be equipped with generous entertainment or sleeping facilities for passengers. With tighter rows of chairs, the machines can carry up to 853 people.

Airbus plants in Northern Germany

There are four Airbus plants in northern Germany. The largest with around 16,000 employees is in Hamburg-Finkenwerder. Other locations are Bremen, Stade and Buxtehude. more

Hamburg takes care of the interior design

Germany is supplying the front and rear fuselage sections as well as the vertical stabilizer. The cockpit, flight controls and middle section come from France. Great Britain contributes the wings and Spain the stern. The aircraft is assembled in Toulouse, France. The interior fittings will then be installed in the Airbus plant in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, where the Super-Jumbo is also painted.

There are a total of four Airbus plants in northern Germany. The largest with around 16,000 employees is located in Hamburg-Finkenwerder. Other locations are Bremen, Stade and Buxtehude.

Negative headlines scratch the image

Even before the first launch, the A380 project is making negative headlines. Problems with the electronics and the cabin equipment mean that the first giant jet will be delivered almost two years later than planned - in October 2007. But things don't go smoothly in the following years either. In 2012, hairline cracks on the wings of machines were discovered, and 70 aircraft had to be retrofitted. A year later there was again news of cracks on the hull. In addition, there are occasional engine problems.

"A lot of effort, money and sweat put into it"

In 2014 there are first speculations that the A380 will end soon. The then Airbus boss Fabrice Bregier still vehemently rejects this. It would be "just crazy" to believe that Airbus would abandon the A380 program, Bregier said. About five years later, Airbus CEO Tom Enders announced the end. The decision is painful, you have put a lot of effort, money and sweat into the passenger jet, says Enders. "But in business we shouldn't make our decisions based on feelings or wishes, but based on facts." And the facts speak against continuing A380 production beyond 2021.

When the first A380 landed in Hamburg

On November 8, 2005, the new giant jet touched down for the first time at Airbus in Finkenwerder. Thousands watch the spectacle enthusiastically. But the superjet will soon become a problem child. more

This topic in the program:

How does it work? | 02/24/2016 | 6:15 p.m.