A review of the development of Airbus A380

1. Overview

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by Airbus. It is the world's largest passenger airliner. The A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 and entered commercial service on 25 October 2007 with Singapore Airlines. While the airliner created history when it took to flight, its development phase was riddled with issues that brought Airbus to its knees.

Photo:  Airbus A380 taking a flight

Photo: Airbus A380 taking a flight

In this report, we'll examine the project that was undertaken to develop this behemoth of the skies.

2. Timeline

  • 1991: Market demand researched

  • 1993: Boeing cancels large aircraft project

  • 1996: Airbus “Large Aircraft Division” formed

  • 2000: Commercial launch of the A3XX

  • 2002: Component manufacturing begins

  • 2004:

    • Feb: Engine Delivered

    • May: Assembly begins in the giant £240m factory.

  • 2005:

    • 18 Jan: First Press Display – A380 Reveal

    • 27 Apr: Maiden flight/Flight testing and certification begins

    • Jun: SCHEDULE: Airbus announces that the plane's delivery schedule will slip by six months.

  • 2006:

    • 26 Mar: QUALITY: The plane passes a key evacuation test, with 850 passengers and 20 crew managing to leave the aircraft within 78 seconds, even though half the exits were blocked.

    • 29 Mar: EASA and FAA Certification and delays

    • Jul: SCHEDULE: 6 – 7 months of production delay

    • Oct: SCHEDULE: Additional 12 months of delay

  • 2007:

    • 15 Oct: First A380-800 delivered to Singapore Airlines

    • 25 Oct: Introduction flight with Singapore Airlines