Everything about this aeroplane is enormous the numbers are truly mindboggling. Its overall length is 73 metres. That’s about as long as the Great Sphinx in Egypt. The giant twodeck fuselage will typically have 550 seats, but has the potential to carry up to 800 passengers. The tail, at 21 meters from the ground, is as high as a sevenstorey building.
The 845m 2 wing area is big enough to park 70 cars. The A380 can fly a staggering 15,000km without refuelling and in order to do that, it needs to carry 310,000 litres of fuel, making the plane’s take off weight 560 tonnes. Incredibly, though, the A380 will actually be more fuelefficient than other, similarsized jumbojets. Airbus claim that the plane will burn about 3 litres of fuel per passenger per 100km, making it as economical to run as a family car. The building of the A380 is a remarkable example of transnational cooperation.
The final assembly line is in Toulouse in France, but this is only the end of an impressively complicated process. The construction of each aircraft is the result of collaboration between France, Germany, Britain and Spain. The wings, for example, are built in England and Wales. The main sections of the fuselage are constructed in Hamburg, Germany. Parts for the nose and the tail are in fact made in Spain, and only assembled in Germany. Everything is then shipped to France to be put together.
The A380 jigsaw gets even more complicated, however. Although a European venture, few people realise how much of the plane is actually made or designed outside the EU. The wings, for example, were created by designers in Wichita in the United States. Some wing panels, the wheels, and most of the cockpit electronics are also made in America. In fact, in terms of actual cost, almost half the aircraft is made in the USA.