JANUARY 23, 2005 One of aviation history's most important aircraft was unveiled last week when the Airbus A380 superjumbo, the world's first full-length twin-deck aircraft debuted at a ceremony in Toulouse, France. The A380's forte is capacity - 50% more than a 747 - and depending on the seating configuration, can carry up to 800 passengers on a long haul flight. The A380 is also fuel efficient, and experts predict that in the maximum 800 seat configuration, it will be nearly half the cost per seat to an airline for a long haul flight. Not surprisingly, the marginal existence of most airlines in the global aviation industry has seen them respond positively to the A380 and Airbus has already taken 149 orders at US$280 million per plane.
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