Due to take to the skies in 2006, the massive double-decker A380 is the most advanced, spacious and efficient airliner ever conceived. Its 555 passengers will experience an unparalleled level of comfort with wider seats and aisles, and access to lower-deck amenities. Next generation engines and advanced wing and undercarriage design mean the A380 will be quieter than today's largest airliner and its increased efficiency will translate into luxury travel at much more affordable prices. Its also the most costly passenger aviation project in history - US$10.7 billion is being spent on the programme which will employ 6,000 engineers in Europe at its height. The economic fuel consumption of the A380 - around 13 per cent lower fuel burn than its closest competitor - will help reduce the impact of exhaust gases on the atmosphere.
The A380 will be the first long-haul aircraft to consume less than three litres of fuel per passenger over 100 kilometres - a fuel burn comparable with the best of small modern turbo-diesel cars.While offering all the advantages of a completely new design, the A380 will extend the benefits of Airbus family commonality to the very large aircraft sector. Thanks to the same cockpit layout, procedures and handling characteristics, pilots will be able to transition to the A380 from other Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft with only minor additional training.
Designed in collaboration with some 60 major airports to ensure airport compatibility and a smooth entry into service the A380 provides the smartest and most economical solution to growing air traffic and airport congestion. The only alternative, an increase in frequencies of existing aircraft, would not only require billions of dollars of investment by airports (in new runways, terminals and even airports) but would also contribute to greater congestion and a significantly increased impact on the environment.
The A380 Family starts from a baseline passenger aircraft, the A380-800 with a capacity of 555 passengers in three classes, and a range of up to 14,800km/8,000nm. The freighter version, the A380-800F will carry a payload of 150 tonnes (330,000lbs) over 10,400km/5,600nm. The A380 can be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines or GP7200 engines from The Engine Alliance (a General Electric and Pratt & Whitney joint venture).To date, ten customers have announced firm orders and commitments for a total of 103 A380s. The 555-seater A380 will enter into service in early 2006.