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It is one of the most easily recognizable aircraft in aviation history. The Airbus A380, with its two full decks, massive wingspan and four powerful engines took the stage in 2005 with its first flight. In service with the airlines, it quickly became a success.
However, in 2019, just 12 years after its introduction, Airbus cancelled the A380 program and scheduled the final aircraft to leave the factory floor in 2021. This marked the end of its 15-year long production run.
But how many Airbus A380s were built?
About the Airbus A380
With its two full-length decks and wide-body fuselage, the Airbus A380 is the worlds largest passenger airliner.
Airbus developed the A380 as an attempt to rival the Boeing 747 in the market for large passenger jets. The A380 project was announced in 1990 but the aircraft’s first flight didn’t happen until 2005 and entered service in late 2007.
Like the Boeing 747, the Airbus A380 has four engines (either Engine Alliance GP7200 or Rolls-Royce Trent 900 turbofans) and is certified to carry 853 passengers. However, no airline has used the A380 in that configuration before, as they usually fit out the double-decker aircraft to carry around 5-600 people.
Singapore Airlines was the first airline to have the A380 delivered. Airbus’ production of the A380 peaked at 30 planes per year in 2012 and 2014.
However, because of several challenges faced by the large aircraft, production slowed and the program was ultimately cancelled in 2019.
The last Airbus A380 left the factory in 2021.
How many Airbus A380 were built?
During development, Airbus estimated a market for up to 1.235 so-called VLAs (Very Large Aircraft), that would later become the A380. But Airbus would not come even close to that.
When the final A380 left the assembly line in 2021, Airbus had built 251 A380s in total. That number equals just little over a fifth of the estimated market outlooks.
Airbus produced the A380 for 15 years - from 2003 to 2021. All 251 aircraft was made at the Airbus production facilities in Toulouse, France, while the various aircraft components came from all over the world.
Why Were So Few A380s Built?
Despite its initial success, the A380 faced some serious challenges which ultimately led to its cancellation.
The aircraft’s size was an issue in itself, as airports had to readjust their infrastructure. And passenger preference also changed - The A380 was designed for service between large airports and not direct flights to medium- and small-sized airports. The market started to move in that direction.
The global financial crisis in 2008 led to significant reductions in air travel, and the A380 suffered too. Finally, the emergence of new, more fuel-efficient twin-engine aircraft also challenged the expensive-to-run, four-engined A380.
A series of challenges led to the cancellation of the double-decker Airbus A380. Global airline trends, economic shakeups and advances in twin-engine aircraft technology ultimately led to the A380’s end in 2021 where the final aircraft was delivered.
Airbus made 251 of their double-decker A380.
Despite its relatively short production run, the Airbus A380 is still a modern and very capable airliner. Therefore, airlines will keep it in service for many more years to come.
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