Airbus A380: A Review of Its Design Advantages and Challenges

Airbus A380: A review of its design advantages and challenges

The 21st century saw the release of Airbus 380 (A380), the biggest airliner ever designed. The European Corporation Airbus manufactured A380 jet. The jet has major distinct features such as double-check, wide-body and four engines (King, 2007). The Airbus was designed to compete the market dominating Boeing by offering competitive services.

The technology used in manufacturing A380 is accredited to various factors such as increased safety enhancements and high reliability. However, the release of A380 was also associated with various challenges such as large space requirement and problems related to fire extinguishing due to size and fuel capacity. Consequently, the operations of A380 have resulted in mixed reactions based on uncertainty and influenced by diverse factors. The primary purpose of this paper is to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of A380. Moreover, the article gives a brief review of A380 operations.


The A380 jet was designed to meet the increased market needs in air travel in the globalized world. A380 was designed to solve various aircraft market issues. For instance, Dillingham (2007) explains that A380 was designed to alleviate capacity constraints in the air transport through accommodation of passengers and flight. It is also worth noting that Airbus was to facilitate accommodation of more freight in each flight (Martin, 2009). The jet would promote maximization of financial benefits through optimized, segmented cabin that facilitates saving of fuel and hence incurring more profits. The application of the match cabin innovation technique allowed saving of fuel. The four passenger classes are also crucial in service diversification. For instance, the jet offers up to a three-room private suite.

The A380 has a quiet and spacious cabin during flights. Such features have enabled the Airbus to gain more market share globally through its ability to decongest high traffic on busy cities (Darlow, 2004). The flying of the A380 is done in such a way that it facilitates passenger satisfaction. The table below illustrates the technical information of a380.

Number in fleet 11
Maximum speed 945km/h (587 mph, Mach 0.89)
Passenger capacity 469 (4 classes)
Wingspan 79.8m (261 feet 10 inches)
Height 24.1m (79 feet)
Length 72.7m (238 feet 8 inches)
Engines 4x Rolls-Royce Trent 900
Range 15,400 (9,500 miles)



According to Gaucher (2005), the most significant advantages of A380 stems from its component and structure composition manufactured from advanced metallic and carbon composites. These materials are essential in promoting maintainability, and operational reliability (Pora, 2001). Moreover, the Airbus saves weight through the use of innovation during its manufacturing despite its massive space. A380 uses four engines of high efficiency compared to those of Boeing 757-200 (Gaucher, 2005). Gaucher further explains that A380 has a large wingspan of about 64.4m which is about 54% larger than those of Boeing 747 aircraft. Consequently, A380 is more stable.

It is also prudent to note that the overall design technology used for A380 is highly effective and is selected carefully to ensure high effectiveness and assure a high level of safety (Pora, 2001). The technology used for A380 was carefully selected to attain a variety of beneficial factors. Such include a design that facilitates low seat-mile cost, high reliability, environmental friendliness and passenger comfort (King, 2007). Moreover, Peeters, Middel and Hoolhorst (2005) explain that the Airbus is 12 percent more fuel efficient per seat kilometer compared to Boeing 747-400. It is also worth noting that A380, with 469 seats, has more passenger capacity when compared to Boeing 747-400, which has 345 seats.

A380 also offers the best customer benefits such as First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller (Irwin & Pavcnik, 2004). To enhance these customer experiences, A380 offers on-demand video services for all the seats as compared to Airbus 318-100.


A380 has been highlighted to use advanced technology. Inherent to the state-of-the-art technology is the high cost of production of A380. Moreover, A380 has a vast size. This size, such as high space requirement due to wing size, is a limitation on most airports since they cannot accommodate it. King (2007) further explains that the wings of A380 are 54 percent bigger than those for Boeing 747 aircraft. The vast size could also explain Lamiraux et al.’s (2005) account that driving A380 between cities within proximity such as 200km is a problem.

The big wing size of the A380 aircraft also results in challenges on fuel consumption. According to Irwin and Pavcnik (2001), the larger wingspan of A380 compared to that of Boeing 757-200 results in 2% more fuel consumption. A380 also suffers from speed challenges. A380 has a maximum speed of 945km/h as compared to 988km/h for Boeing 747-400. Irwin and Pavcnik (2001) also observes that A380 has less number of fleets as compared to Boeing 777-200.


The above discussion has evaluated some aspects relating to A380. The discussion reveals that the design innovation of A380 has various benefits and makes it the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Of primary importance is the advanced technology and innovativeness used in its manufacture. A380 has been shown to have more reliability and hence high safety level, easy to maintain, has low fuel consumption cost and is environmentally friendly. These features account for the high market confidence and top of mind awareness. However, A380 also faces various challenges such as limited destination due to large landing space requirement and a high cost of manufacture. However, A380 is a state of the art technological advancement for the aircraft industry, and it opens a wide scope for engineering experimentations and improvements.



Dillingham, G. L. (2007). Commercial Aviation: Potential Safety and Capacity Issues Associated with the Introduction of the New A380 Aircraft. DIANE Publishing.

Gaucher, K. M. (2005, June 1). Airbus 380 integrated and efficient assembly process. Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, 77(3).

Irwin, D. A., & Pavcnik, N. (2001). Airbus versus Boeing revisited: international competition in the aircraft market. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economics Research.

Irwin, D. A., & Pavcnik, N. (2004). Airbus versus Boeing revisited: international competition in the aircraft market. Journal of international economics64(2), 223-245.

King, J. M. (2007). The Airbus 380 and Boeing 787: A role in the recovery of the airline transport market. Journal of air transport management13(1), 16-22.

Lamiraux, F., Laumond, J. P., Geem, C. V., Boutonnet, D., & Raust, G. (2005). Trailer truck trajectory optimization: the transportation of components for the Airbus A380. Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE12(1), 14-21.

Peeters, P. M., Middel, J., & Hoolhorst, A. (2005). Fuel efficiency of commercial aircraft Fuel efficiency of commercial aircraft An overview of historical and future trends.

Pora, J. (2001). Composite materials in the airbus A380–from history to future. Proceedings of ICCM13, Plenary lecture, CD-ROM.

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