Aircraft weights and capabilities shown are the highest values. Ranges shown are for typical passenger load
The A380’s service introduction ushered in a new era of airline transportation for operators. Whether it’s being used to reduce the number of flights and create cost savings while maintaining capacity, or to offer more capacity with fewer take-off slots, the A380 brings operators a wide range of commercial advantages. Furthermore, with two full-length decks, more space for every passenger, and a flying experience no other aircraft in the sky can match, the A380 has become a must-have ticket on every route it flies – resulting in a significant first-mover advantage for operators.
The A380’s cockpit – which is based on Airbus’ industry-leading flight deck design for its fly-by-wire jetliner families – features the latest advances in cockpit technology, including larger interactive displays, an advanced flight management system and improved navigation modes.
The A380's main instrument panel incorporates eight identical and interchangeable liquid crystal display units, providing a primary flight display, navigation display, two multi-function displays, an engine warning display and a systems display. The larger display size provides increased perspective for pilots and allows for enhanced presentation modes as a vertical situation awareness function that presents a “vertical cut” of the aircraft trajectory incorporating flight path, terrain and weather information.
A key A380 innovation is the use of an electronic library to largely replace the traditional paper documentation used by pilots. This library allows flight and maintenance crews to easily locate relevant operational information in the various flight manuals, lists and logbooks, while enabling an optimisation of performance and weight-and-balance computations.
Airbus introduced its innovative Brake to Vacate technology on the A380, allowing flight crews to more effectively manage approach and landing by pre-selecting the optimum runway exit. This can reduce runway occupancy time by up to 30% – significantly increasing the number of aircraft that can be handled by the world’s airports.
By incorporating the latest advances in structures and materials, the A380 offers the lowest cost per seat of any wide-body aircraft, over 15% lower than its nearest competitor. This includes the use of advanced aluminium alloys for the wing and fuselage, along with the extensive application of composite materials in the centre wing box’s primary structure, wing ribs, and rear fuselage section.
The A380 also uses Glare™ material in the pressurised fuselage’s upper and lateral shells. Glare™ is a laminate incorporating alternate layers of aluminium alloy and glass fibre reinforced adhesive, with its properties optimised by adjusting the number of plies and orientation of the glass tapes. This offers a significant reduction in weight and provides advanced fatigue and damage resistance characteristics.
Two new-generation engine options (the Engine Alliance GP7200 and Rolls-Royce’s Trent 900) – combined with an advanced wing and landing gear design – make the A380 significantly quieter the other large airliners – enabling Airbus’ very large aircraft to meet strict local regulations at airports around the world.
With a new wing design and composite materials accounting for 25% of its structural weight, the A380 is an all-around efficient aircraft. By producing only about 75 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre, the A380 is helping the aviation industry's commitment to minimise greenhouse gas emissions.
The A380’s reliability and maintainability are further increased with modern technology, including an enhanced onboard central maintenance system and variable frequency generators – which simplify the large aircraft’s electrical generation network. Hydraulic power is provided by two fully independent systems with an operating pressure of 5,000 psi., instead of the conventional 3,000 psi. This ability to handle higher pressures results in smaller and lighter hydraulic system equipment, as well as less hydraulic fluid on board, proving how Airbus innovations continue to deliver efficiency in every area of aircraft design and manufacture.