The Making of Airbus 380.
The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, an EADS subsidiary. The largest passenger airliner in the world, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight on 25 October 2007 from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines. The aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX during much of its development phase, but the nickname Superjumbo has since become associated with it.
The A380's upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage. This allows for a cabin with 50% more floor space than the next largest airliner, the Boeing 747-400, and provides seating for 525 people in standard three-class configuration or up to 853 people in full economy class configuration. The A380 is offered in passenger and freighter versions. The A380-800, the passenger model, is the largest passenger airliner in the world, superseding the Boeing 747, but has a shorter fuselage than the Airbus A340-600 which is Airbus' next biggest passenger airplane. The A380-800F, the freighter model, is offered as one of the largest freight aircraft, with a listed payload capacity exceeded only by the Antonov An-225. The A380-800 has a design range of 15,200 kilometres (8,200 nmi), sufficient to fly from New York to Hong Kong for example, and a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (about 900 km/h or 560 mph at cruise altitude).
Five A380s were built for testing and demonstration purposes. The first prototype, serial number MSN001 and registration F-WWOW, was unveiled at a ceremony in Toulouse on 18 January 2005. Its maiden flight took place at 8:29 UTC (10:29 a.m. local time) 27 April 2005. The prototype, equipped with Trent 900 engines, departed runway 32L of Toulouse Blagnac International Airport with a flight crew of six headed by chief test pilot Jacques Rosay, carrying 20 tonnes (22 short tons) of flight test instrumentation and water ballast. The take-off weight of the aircraft was 421 tonnes (464 short tons); although this was only 75 percent of its maximum take-off weight, it was the heaviest take-off weight of any passenger airliner ever flown.
In mid-November 2005, the A380 embarked on a tour of Southeast Asia and Australia for promotional and for long-haul flight testing purposes, visiting Singapore, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur. During this tour, the livery of Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Malaysia Airlines were applied in addition to the Airbus house livery. On 19 November, an A380 flew in full Emirates livery at the Dubai Air Show.