AIRBUS A380: A revolution in the Commercial Aviation Industry

ABSTRACT

Airplanes, a bird with engines fly through the air has developed in less than a century.  Commercial aviation is an important industry around the world and over the year’s aviation has been perfected from a simple glider to space shuttles. There are two major jet airplane manufacturers: Boeing and Airbus, and both companies are trying to invent some comfortable, gorgeous and energy efficient airplanes for the airline passengers. As more people are traveling by airplanes, new airplanes are invented. Thinking about the first airplanes and old jets, the Airbus A380 -800 is a revolution in the aviation industry and currently it is the largest passenger aircraft in the world. It is becoming more popular, as airlines look for ways to move the maximum amount of passengers for a lower cost. The aircraft is manufactured in both passenger and in freight (Cargo) versions. The Airbus A380-800 is a double-decked aircraft and can carry 550 passengers. If the entire plane is designated economy class, it can seat 853 people. There is 50% more cabin floor space than the Boeing 747 because the A380s upper deck goes the entire length of the fuselage (P. Eden, 2009). In 2012, there were already over 101 A380s were in use and 272 more are expected to be used in the near future. Due to the size and weight of the aircraft, airports will have to make some major renovations, improvements and expansions to accommodate them (Airliner World, 2012).

This research will explain in depth about the manufacturing process of Airbus A380, its specifications like size, wingspan and aerodynamics. In addition, the paper will discuss some of the effects of Airbus A380 in the commercial aviation around the world and about its future in the commercial aviation industry.

BACKGROUND

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-bodied and four-engine jet airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus that is headquartered in Toulouse, France, a subsidiary of EADS (European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company). It is the world’s largest passenger airliner accommodating 500 passengers in one flight; providing shower and a real bath system for Business Class passengers. Due to its size, many airports had to improve their gate facilities to accommodate (taxing to the gate) it. Initially named Airbus A3XX, the aircraft was designed to challenge Boeing’s domination in the large-aircraft market, which was Boeing 747-400; the A380 made its first flight on 27 April 2005 and inaugurated commercial service in October 2007 with Singapore Airlines. Currently, more airline companies are ordering it and own it (P. Eden, 2009).

With the Airbus A380, Airbus heralds a new era in commercial operations. The aircraft is the largest and heaviest airliner ever imagined and many see it as the answer to increasing congesting airports; with more passengers flown at one with lesser flights. As the aircraft is large and able to fly nonstop 19 hours, the longest Airbus A380 route is from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Melbourne International Airport (MEL) by Qantas, which averages 15 hours 50 minutes with a distance of 12,747 Kilometers or 7921 miles in circle distance (Airliner World, 2012).  It has also proved a great support to cargo only operators, completing a winning against the Boeing 747 freighters (Airliner World, 2012).

 Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 at JFK International Airport _DSC1357

 Source: Faisal Photography 

HISTORY

Prior to starting the A380 project both Airbus and Boeing had focused on trapping the very-large-airliner market since they are the only two largest commercial aircraft manufacturers. Airbus and Boeing had worked together on a study examining a 600 seat aircraft called the Very Large Commercial Transport, but this cooperation did not last long. Although both manufacturers issued various statements, the unspoken agreement was that there was probably room for only one maker to be profitable in the 600 to 800–seat market segment (G. Norris, 2010). Both knew the risk of splitting a niche market. The synchronized debut of the Douglas DC-10 and the Lockheed Tristar had demonstrated this: either aircraft could technically fill the gap between the Douglas DC-8 and the Boeing 747, but the market could only sustain one of the two. Eventually both companies left the civil airliner market; eventually Boeing and Airbus decided to enter the new 600-seat market. On the other hand McDonald Douglas was bankrupt and later bought by Boeing in 1990 (P. Eden, 2009).
Boeing initially had the upper hand and the Boeing 747, though designed in the 1960s; it was popular and larger than Airbus’ largest jet, the A340. In fact, Boeing had the idea of creating the double-decked aircraft but according to the safety procedures from ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), during emergency an aircraft should be evacuated only in 60 seconds whereas Boeing did it in 80 seconds. This is the reason why the Boeing’s design was not approved by ICAO and IATA (International Air Transport Association). Nevertheless, after 40 years ICAO and IATA has increased the evacuation time from 60 seconds to 90 seconds. For many airlines the extra size of the 747 made it a “must buy” for their long haul routes and the lower costs of a common fleet led carriers to buy additional Boeing aircrafts even for countries like Iran, Libya and some of the rogue nations since Boeing is an American Based company. Boeing was considering a New Large Aircraft to replace the 747 and acquired McDonnell Douglas and their cancelled MD-12 design (G. Norris, 2010). Boeing studied the concept of the 747X, a version of the 747 with the fore body “hump” extended towards the rear for more passenger room, before dropping the concept. Development of the “A3XX” began in June 1994. In 2001, it was re-branded the A380 with the announcement of Singapore Airlines as the launch customer but the favorite customer for Airbus A380 was Emirates with a large number of orders (Airliner World, 2012).

Some of the customers of Airbus A380s

Company Orders
 

Air France

12

China Southern Airlines

5

Emirates

47

Etihad Airways

4

ILFC

10

Kingfisher Airlines

5

Korean AirLines

5

Lufthansa

15

Malaysian Airlines

6

Qantas

20

Qatar Airways

5

Singapore Airlines

19

Thai Airways

6

Virgin Atlantic

6

British Airways

8

Source: Airbus, 2013

Design
The new Airbus is sold in two versions: the A380-800, carrying 555 passengers in a three-class configuration or up to 800 passengers in a single-class economy configuration. Expected range for the -800 model is 8,000 nautical miles or 14,800 km. The second model is the A380-800F a dedicated freighter, this carries 150 tons of cargo 5,600 nautical miles or 10,400 km          (Airbus, 2013).
Cockpit
Airbus made the cockpit layout, procedures, and handling characteristics alike to those of other Airbus aircrafts like A320, A330 and A450 to reduce crew-training costs. Accordingly, to the engineers, the A380 features a glass cockpit and side-stick flight controller driving the airplane by fly-by-wire technology. Fly-by-wire (FBW) is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface (P. Eden, 2009). The movements of flight controls converted into electronic signals transmitted by wires, and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control surface to provide the ordered response. The fly-by-wire system also allows automatic signals sent by the aircraft’s computers to perform functions without the pilot’s input, as in systems that automatically help stabilize the aircraft (G. Norris, 2010).

Engines
Airbus A380 is powered either by the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or by Engine Alliance GP7200 turbofan engines. The Rolls-Royce Trent was the introduction engine, initially it gained most sales. However, the Engine Alliance GP7201 sales grew rapidly, now roughly matching those of the Trent 900. Airbus planes are equipped with the latest technology, which avoid the pilot to climb of more than 30 degrees where it might lose lift and later stall. The aircraft also protected against over speed and this over speed protection technology also could use in today’s modern cars, which will protect the driver from accident. It uses the electrical signals through wires to actuators that move the control surface according to pilot input (The Flight Group, 2010).

a380 specifications eginss

The A380 embodies with the very latest communication and information systems technology. On the other hand, these new manufacturing systems are not only computer controlled, networked computers control them and these modern technology and electronic components could use in different product that is necessary in our daily life. The price of the electronic device could become cheap in the future, as airplanes would use this technology more often (Lovgren, S. 2005).

Crew 2
Passengers 525, max. 853 (If Business Class is eliminated)
 
Propulsion 4 Turbofan Engines
Engine Model Rolls-Royce / Engine Alliance Trent 900 / GP7200
  Engine Power (each) 311 kN 69916 lbf
 
Speed 945 km/h 510 kts
  587 mph
Mmo (max. Mach) Mach 0.89
Service Ceiling 13.106 m 43.000 ft
Range 15.199 km 8.207 NM
9.444 mi.
 
Empty Weight 276.800 kg 610.239 lbs
max. Takeoff Weight 569.000 kg 1.254.429 lbs
max. Landing Weight 391.000 kg 862.006 lbs
 
Wing Span 79,80 m 261,8 ft
Wing Area 845,0 m² 9096 ft²
Length 73,00 m 239,5 ft
Height 24,10 m 79,1 ft
 
First Flight 27.04.2005
Production Status in production
ICAO Code A388

Untitled

The Manufacturing Process
Airbus operates 16 manufacturing sites across Europe, most of which produce parts for the new A380 airliner. First, the front and rear sections of the fuselage are loaded on an Airbus RORO ship, Ville de Bordeaux, in Hamburg, northern Germany, and are shipped to the United Kingdom. There the huge wings, which are manufactured at Filton in Bristol and Broughton in north Wales, are transported by barge to Mostyn docks where the ship adds them to its cargo   (G. Norris, 2010). In Saint-Nazaire, western France, the ship trades the fuselage sections from Hamburg for larger, assembled sections, some of which include the nose. The ship unloads in Bordeaux. Afterwards, the ship picks up the belly and tail sections in Cadiz, southern Spain, and delivers them to Bordeaux (G. Norris, 2010).

From there the A380 parts are transported by barge to Langon, and by road to an assembly hall in Toulouse. New wider roads, extra canal systems, and barges were developed to deliver the massive A380 parts. After assembly, the aircraft are flown to Hamburg to be furnished and painted. Final assembly began in 2004, with first aircraft (MSN001) displayed in January 2005 (Airbus, 2013).

523px-Transport_A380_en.svg

Amenities
Preliminary publicity has hassled the A380’s space and comfort, allowing for relaxation areas, bars, duty free shops, and the like. The only A380 customer likely to order such is Emirates, Virgin Atlantic etc. that has a bar in business class on most of its newer airliners and announced plans to include casinos on their A380s (Lovgren, S. 2005). Similar items were proposed in the past when large aircraft were announced but airlines have always opted for more seats to lower ticket costs. Given the history of the airline industry, the A380 will significantly expand the improvements that the 747 made more seats and lower seat-distance costs, while providing wider seats and better amenities. With 555 passengers, the A380 represents a 35 % increase over the 747-400 in standard three-class configuration, along with a nearly 50% larger cabin volume meaning much more space per passenger (Lovgren, S., 2005).

An Emirates A380 bar

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Economics of A380

The number of passenger using air travel is increasing dramatically over last couple of decades. Airliners also interested in this super jumbo aircraft to stand in competition with other airliner. In fact new designs are being proposed for eco friendly and less noise from aircrafts. Airbus already booked for 154 aircraft, which help the company to the increase sales revenue of the business. Many airlines also offer cheapest price to the customer, which provided an unprecedented opportunity for large parts of the population in developed economies to travel. Cheap air travels also allow the business and leisure travel to become an embedded part of the developed world’s culture (G. Norris, 2010). In recent years however, the rapid increase in the rise of fuel prices, and in particularly jet fuel prices, has resulted in airlines around the world facing a pinch. Companies like Emirates do not have to worry about hedge fuel but others do. In this case, Airbus A380 could be the solution as it can carry a larger amount of passenger at the same time and it is 28% more economical per passenger basic than the average figure for all of the aircraft sampled. The A380 offering passengers luxury travel at much more affordable prices Airbus A380 offer more comfort and more space for the every passengers to relax by offering broader seats, more personal storage, better head room, and wider stairs and appreciate the quietest cabin of any airliner currently flying. Airbus A380 provides a new way to cope with air traffic growth, reduced need for expansion of airports and research program could create more job opportunities (P. Eden, 2009).

Airbus a380 bathroom

Airbus A380 Shower and Bathroom

Future of Airbus A380:

Airbus is always dedicated to build environment friendly aircraft, which is most advance and environment friendly. Airbus has successfully set up an pioneering Environment Management System designed to improve the environmental performance of the aircraft in order to make their aircraft environment friendly and sustainable. There is a new aircraft by Airbus A320neo that is very environment friendly and sustainable (Airliner World, 2012).

To make this possible it successfully completed a test flight by using liquid fuel from gas (Gas to liquid) to estimate the impact of alternative fuel. According to sales executive and Chief operating officer of Airbus, the development of new A380-900 could carry up to 900 passengers in economy-only configuration. The first A380-900s could be delivered to customers probable to be around 2015. Some of the airlines already expressed interest in the extended model including Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Etihad, Lufthansa Cathay Pacific, and Air France (Airliner World, 2012).

Conclusion:

Airbus A380 is a real world solution for the cleaner, quieter and smarter way to fly for its levels of efficiency and environmental performance. With rising numbers of people using air transportation, this superjumbo jet provides a new way to handle with this increasing air traffic, thanks to its exclusive capacity. In this way, the passenger will be benefitted flying today and tomorrow. Further research and use of advance material leads the engineers to make lighter aircraft, improve aircraft system along with lower fuel burn and lesser Boeing is on its way to make aircrafts with an amazing aerodynamics, which will make it the shark of the air; in fact, the body of the aircraft will be like a shark. Airbus also tries to reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions from its planes by half between now and 2020, said Louis Gallois, chief executive of the EADS unit, Forbes reports. In short, Airbus A380 has great future ahead of them, according to a survey many passengers love to see and have a flight on the Airbus A380 because of its legroom, quality and comfort.

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Standing in front of the Airbus A380 in JFK International Airport , New York

Bibliography:

 

 

  • Emirates’ Experience, Emirates News, [Accessed 10 May 2013],<www.emirates.com>

 

 

 

 

  • Norris, G. (2010). Airbus A380: Superjumbo of the 21st Century. New York. Zenith Press; First edition

 

  • Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer | A320, A330, A340, A350 XWB & A380 Families of passenger and freighter aircraft | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer. (2013). Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer | A320, A330, A340, A350 XWB & A380 Families of passenger and freighter aircraft | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer. Retrieved May 10, 2013, from http://www.airbus.com/

 

 

  •  Paul E. Eden (2009). Civil Aircraft Today The World’s Most Successful Commercial Aircraft. New York. Amber Books

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