Entering service in October 2007 the Airbus A380 having two passenger floors the whole length of its body is currently the largest commercial passenger jet by measure of maximum potential passenger numbers and usable floor space.
The A380 although capable of transporting 853 people is more often than not configured into a multi class format, usually transporting around 500-600 passengers across 3 classes.
Powered by four engines a cruise speed of around 560mph is typical at a maximum cruise altitude of 43,000ft. Being so large the A380 has one of the longest take off and landing length requirements in the world. Given the needs to also accommodate the double passenger floors means that not many airports have the facilities to receive flights from the large jets.
Having a range of around 8500 miles the A380 is ranked among the highest in terms of serviceable range and has the second longest continuous routes in the world.
Currently there are approximately 200 Airbus A380s in operation across 13 airlines with many more on order. The largest operator, Emirates currently has a further 60 jets on order whilst already having a fleet of 82. Orders outstanding are still subject to change and cancellations are possibly on the cards due to the high fuel costs and operating costs whilst more modern wide body twin engine jets are looking far more attractive due to higher fuel efficiency and improved range offered by planes such as the Dreamliner.
A380s are currently operated by the following airlines:
- Air France
- Asiana Airlines
- British Airways
- China Southern Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Korean Air
- Malaysia Airlines
- Singapore AIrlines
- Thai Airways
- Qatar Airways