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The Death of the Superjumbo

With Airbus’s recent announcement that production of the favorite A380 Superjumbo will stop in just a few years, it has caused us to take a closer look at one’s favorite plane. Join us as we take a brief look at the history of the Superjumbo and discuss why the production of such a beloved plane is being stopped.

Photo by Justin Lim in Unsplash

A Brief Look at the History of the Superjumbo

The very first flight of the A380 didn’t occur until 2007, but its history goes way back. Starting in 1988, engineers for Airbus started discussing how it could compete with Boeing. At the time, Boeing was the “go-to” manufacturer for planes. It was believed that creating a plane that was similar, or better, than Boeing’s ubiquitous 747 long-haul aircraft could be profitable.

It took several years, but eventually, in 2001 the final plans for the Superjumbo were completed. Production of the plane started immediately and it was believed that the first flight would occur sometime in 2005. Unfortunately, there were several delays that occurred with production which caused the first test flight of the A380 to not occur until 2006. The delay of the test flight pushed the first passenger flight back until 2007.

Why Production of the Superjumbo is Being Stopped

Shortly after its first flight, it was clear that travelers loved the Superjumbo. But, if passengers loved traveling on this plane so much, why is a production being stopped? A number of reasons.

The biggest reason is the change in technology. The aerospace industry changed so quickly that by the time the Superjumbo was ready to fly, other planes were being created that could do everything the Superjumbo could but only in a smaller, more fuel-efficient, plane.

Smaller planes are often preferred by airlines because they are easier to fill with passengers, making them economically viable, and they are able to fly into airports all over the world without needing specialized hub terminals constructed. With the advances in technology creating smaller planes that could do just as much as the Superjumbo for less cost, airlines were starting to order other planes instead of the A380.

Another reason production is being halted is because of how people travel from location to location. Travelers prefer to book flights that have the most direct route. Unfortunately, if an airline is using a fleet of Superjumbos, a direct route to popular destinations may not be possible. The airline will only be able to ferry passengers to hub airports and from there the passengers will have to transfer to other, smaller, aircraft to ferry them to their final destination. These increases travel time, planning and stress, especially for those with families.

Production of the Superjumbo may be stopping in 2021, but that doesn’t mean the plane will go away forever. There are still several airlines that have active orders for this type of plane, albeit in reduced numbers. Those orders will be filled and the planes will be used. In addition to the newly ordered Superjumbos, there will still be older A380s that are being used by airlines all over the world.

If you have ever wanted to fly aboard a Superjumbo, now is your chance. The plane will slowly start to be phased out and alternative aircraft will fill the void. It is a unique experience and one that will be a memory to share many years from now.

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