The A380, was it all a failure?

The year is 2005 and Airbus have just rolled out the A380. With a fuselage length of 73 metres and a wingspan of 80 meters, the A380 is a true SuperJumbo. It’s no lie that Airbus hoped the aircraft had a better future. With airlines such as Air France and Singapore retiring their A380’s, its no lie that the A380 has had a premature retirement. However was the aircraft such a failure?

Firstly, Airbus introduced in a new material on the SuperJumbo. This new material, Glass Laminate Aluminium Reinforced Expoxy (GLARE) is like a hybrid between conventional material and carbon composites. Airbus used this material on the upper fuselage section. While most new generation aircraft are made out of 50% Carbon composites, the A380 is made out of 20% carbon composites. That was a big step up from previous Airbus models. Using GLARE, was an industry first

While conventional wide body aircraft use the standard 3000 psi hydraulic systems. Airbus decided to leap forward and use a 5000 psi hydraulic system on the A380. While designing the SuperJumbo, Airbus knew that weight and component volume would have an overall impact on the final design of the aircraft. Airbus contracted many aerospace hydraulic suppliers and began an evaluation on the latest hydraulic system technology. The result of the evaluation was to go with a 5000 psi hydraulic system. Once the evaluation concluded, Airbus spent four months in a “plateau phase” in these four months a component specification criteria was undertaken. Ultimately Eaton was selected to design and build the hydraulic power system to the aircraft.

Another industry first, was the introduced of Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA). Previously IMA systems were only used on newer generation military aircraft. However Airbus believed that the same technology could be used on the A380. By using the IMA concept, many separate processors and line replaceable units (LRU) was replaced with the new system. The IMA concept was able to not only to be able to provide a significant weight deduction but hate maintenance cost savings too. Boeing stated that by using IMA, they was able to shave around 2,000 pounds from the 787 Dreamliners overwall weight. The A380’s IMA approach relies on eight processing modules, some tailored for specific applications, but all tied together by a common Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX), ARINC 664 standard network.

Even though it’s sad that the A380 program didn’t work out as hoped. We can deny that the A380 was and still is an engineering masterpiece. Thank you for reading


Technical success, economic failure. At least the A350 benefitted from some of the R&D - the A350 is doing really well and has a good future ahead of it.


haha a380 go ripppppp


Not necessarily a failure, I would Like to say that the circumstances didnt help, especially with covid now , its all not helping the A380 and the rise of fuel prices , so its just the economy played a major role in scrapping the A380 project.


East or West Boeing is the best.


I agree with this, had these “circumstances” not happened, it wouldn’t be in the position it is now. Much like other quad-engined aircraft or older aircraft.

1 Like

Well, I have opposing views on this.
It is both a success and a failure.
It depends on the airline’s business model.

Airlines like AF, which is trying to streamline its fleet plans to smaller aircraft, the A380 is no good for its fleet.
Emirates, the most prominent operator of the type, can actually make it profitable. It targets big and slot restricted hubs with the jumbo, where the demand is high enough for the airline to fly multiple A380s there and still turn a profit despite the operating costs.

And of course the pandemic has an effect on it, needless to say.

So yeah, the A380 is not a total failure nor a total success.


If it would’ve came earlier then it would have had a more positive outcome in my opinion. Now that’s not to say that it didn’t make achievements or revolutionize the industry of aviation (especially for Emirates), but the timing along with other factors played a large role in its current demise.


They were just a few years to late. If they got it up and going in the 90s, it could be different now. Those large 4 engine jumbos aren’t as popular as they used to be

The same people calling it an economic failure won’t say a thing about the B787 because it’s only just broken even much like the A380. However, they have had to sell nearly 1000 Dreamliners to reach this point and some figures. Some sources say that it hasn’t been reached and won’t until 1,100 units sold so it’s interesting to analyse.

I personally think that the A380 was a huge success regardless of the sales as it did revolutionise the industry in many ways and lay the ground work for new technologies later seen on the A350 and it has had a positive impact on consumers who do want to fly on the largest passenger aircraft in the skies.


Neat article, I would say and I do say.

Personally, the A380 was an absolute commercial failure. Four engines, two decks, and too large in every way it’s not an economic choice for airlines, especially in today’s world where most A380s are sitting in long-term storage. Not to mention the former and future pilot shortage which grounded a few A380s before a global pandemic hit everybody in the face like a flying brick.


Because the A350 fills more of the gap’s in today’s market, those being the long, skinny, and efficient routes. If the A380 came out in, say, the late 80s’ or the 90s’ it would’ve had a much larger impact on the market because there would’ve been those gaps to fill, the also long but fat and not-so-efficient routes, and it would’ve been a suitable rival for Her Majesty the Queen, the 747-400.


I have to disagree with you here. Emirates has slowly been moving A380s into storage even before COVID. This has been happening since 2018 and the primary reason is that Emirates isn’t doing too great. After recording some of their best profits from 2015 to 2017, they slowly started going downhill so they had to cut down on costs and even running the A380 on incredibly busy routes such as DXB-LHR, DXB-JFK and DXB-LAX could just barely hit breakeven, forget profits.

The main reason is quite simple. Let me explain. The 3-class A380 can seat 450 passengers while the 3-class 777-300ER can seat 368 passengers. On a DXB-LAX route, the A380 consumes 177,000 kg of fuel while carrying roughly 382 passengers (around 85% occupancy), while the 77W consumes 128,000 kg of fuel while carrying roughly 320 passengers. This means that for every actual passenger, the A380 consumes 465 kg of fuel while the 777 consumes 405 kg of fuel. This might not seem as much at first but in a year, they’re saving roughly 44,000 kg of fuel. And that’s on only one route. That 40,000 kg of fuel can be then used to fly another 777 on a DXB-BOM, DXB-DEL or DXB-BLR route (all of which are usually overbooked).

Once you apply that logic to some more routes like DXB-MEL, DXB-PER, DXB-SYD, DXB-AKL and DXB-SIN, Emirates ends up saving something around 250,000 kg of fuel, enough to fly DXB-BLR or DXB-DEL around 7 times or to fly DXB-LHR almost 5 times.

The A380 model would’ve worked for Emirates if they had only ordered around 20 or, at max, 30 A380s. They could’ve only used those A380s to shuttle passengers back and forth between extremely profitable routes such as DXB-LHR, DXB-JFK and DXB-BOM like what nearby rival Qatar Airways does. But now that they have almost 110 A380s, they have no choice but to run it on low demand routes such as DXB-IKA, DXB-JED, DXB-AMM, DXB-ATH and DXB-BHX as if they don’t let the A380s fly, they’ll end up losing more money. And COVID is only worsening the situation. The next time you guys come to Dubai (or if you live in Dubai), just drive by Al Maktoum Airport and you’ll see a good number of A380s parked on the apron in storage as Emirates doesn’t want to fly them.

The A380 is an extremely advanced aircraft and is a beauty (I’m guessing this is an unpopular opinion), but that won’t help it make profits.


No, it is not. The A388 is an engineering masterpiece.


The general consensus in the aviation industry would regard A380 as a failure.

Despite promising start, Airbus have made a decision stop manufacturing A380s some 2 years ago (pre-covid).

I would share with that view despite the advantages A380 have. Who would thought of this particularly when airports made investments to build special gates for the A380s.

For Emirates who is the largest user of A380s, they are already reducing their A380s in their fleet & i cant envisage A380 make a big return in the future sadly.
Its an amazing aircraft and i am fortunate enough to travel on once.

Currently theres 240 A380s with respective airlines & out of that in service, the number is 21😔

I meant it’s an unpopular opinion that the A380 is beautiful

1 Like

Here’s what the Emirates CEO/President said:

So in summary, there is no evidence that the A380 is 100% bad for Emirates.

1 Like

That’s what I said. I didn’t say the A380 is 100% bad for Emirates, but I did say that having wayyyy too many of them like what they do now is extremely unprofitable for them and leaves them in a desperate state.

Well, in the second link he said, lower fuel costs make the A380 more viable
Of course, from the start the President mentioned that it would still make sense to send A380s to megahubs, like London Heathrow, since the slots are so limited that the carrier aims to mimimize the amount of its aircraft flown there. Still, when Emirates manages to fly 5 A380s to LHR, it means that the demand for the route is high enough and that if it was flown by a 777, it may take 7 or 8 of them to fly the route while fulfilling the demand.

The 777 in Emirates has a different role. It is used to fly to smaller cities, where the capacity is usually enough to fulfil the needs of the city’s passengers.