The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger aircraft ever to have flown, and is known unofficially as the Super Jumbo.
Despite seeing a downturn in the number of active A380s and airlines flying them since the Covid-19 pandemic, it is an aircraft that can still be seen and flown on quite easily, and one which still turns heads wherever it goes.
Work on the A380 can be traced back as far as 1994 when the project was still called the A3XX. It wasn’t until December 1999 that the Airbus board authorised the go ahead for the programme, with the commercial launch happening in June 2000 and the A380 designation being confirmed on 12 December, 2000.
When Did the A380 First Fly?
The aircraft was rolled out on 18 January, 2005, with the historic first flight completed just three months later on 27 April 2005.
Following a period of testing and certification, as well as modifications, the first A380 was delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines in October 2007.
Once in the air and in passenger service, it was loved by those who flew it, in all cabins. The cabin felt spacious and internal noise was noticeably low. Airlines had made an effort to set new standards by making use of the large available space.
Designed to transport 525 passengers on distances up to 14,816km (9,206 miles), this double-decker airliner’s early marketing suggested the possible addition of casinos, gyms or even beauty parlours. Unfortunately, the simple economics of operating the aircraft took precedence and such areas were never produced, seats are what pay the bills after all.
How Many A380s Were Built?
Including the three prototype aircraft, there were 254 Airbus A380s built.
The final aircraft was delivered to Emirates in December 2021.
Since then a number of A380s have been retired and scrapped, but the majority still exist and are in service.
Who Still Flies the A380 Today?
Today a handful of airlines still fly the Airbus A380, with some even bringing retired examples out of storage to operate on high-demand routes.
Emirates are by far the largest operator of the type, flying it worldwide from their Dubai International hub.
The principle A380 operators today are:
- All Nippon Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways
- Etihad Airways
- Korean Air
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
Learn more airliner first flight dates and lots of amazing facts and statistics in Flying Firsts – A month-by-month guide to commercial aircraft maiden flights.
As well as important dates, this book includes a history of each aircraft type and variant, technical information, colour photographs, and a handy tick-list for plane spotters!