Brilliant or Burden | Is the A380 useful or a gimmick?

The A380 is the world’s only fully double-decked aircraft, but as the pandemic left many airlines retiring them, this brings us the question, are they actually worth all the hype?

Size and Capacity

Everyone knows that the Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial aircraft, meaning it can carry the most passengers. It can carry a maximum of 853 passengers but typically carries around 545 passengers in a 4-class configuration. But, because of its super-big size, the airbus A380 needs nearly 10,000 feet of runway to take off (Which is over 3 KM of a runway), which, compared to the A320, is massive, as that only needs 4,500 feet. Due to fewer passengers flying after the pandemic, airlines no longer need their large size.

The A380 after the pandemic - At a maximum seating capacity of 853 passengers, the A380 is the world's largest commercial aircraft
At a maximum seating capacity of 853 passengers, the A380 is the world’s largest commercial aircraft (Credit: qz.com)

In History

The Airbus A380 isn’t quite like the 747 when it comes to being an Icon. The 747 very much shaped air travel at a time when it was just taking-off (Excuse me for the pun). It is for sure what people first think of when people mention aviation. Unfortunately, this can’t be said for the A380 as it was a late arrival to the aviation scene, first going into commercial service in October 2007 with Singapore airlines. This may seem like a while ago, but the 747 first entered service in January 1970 with Pan-Am.

The A380 after the pandemic - The Boeing 747 first entered service in 1970 with Pan-Am
The Boeing 747 first entered service in 1970 with Pan-Am (credit: flightglobal.com)

What’s it like flying on an A380?

Having flown on the A380 with Qatar airways on the way back from Maputo this summer, I can tell you that I didn’t feel that much of a difference from flying on other aircraft. The aircraft felt kind of old and outdated compared to Qatar airways’ slightly fresher 777s. In fact, I wasn’t even able to experience the Uniqueness of the A380’s upper deck, as this was shut off to economy class passengers. Of course, I understand that my experience will be different from other people’s, especially when flying with a different airline.

The A380 after the pandemic - Qatar Airways A380
(credit: simpleflying.com)

All in all, I think that the A380 is an excellent aircraft and will forever go down in history. However, I believe that it is likely that we will see an abrupt end to the aircraft’s use by the end of the decade. But, for now, the aircraft will always remain the true King of the Skies.

Sources:

  • wikipedia.com
  • simpleflying.com
  • The big book of Flight by Roland White
  • Airbus.com
  • aerotime.aero (Cover image)

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