The much-anticipated Airbus 380 has received another blow. Airbus has once again postponed its delivery schedule. The project is turning into a major embarassment for Airbus, which was supposed to give it a strategic advantage over its main competitor, Boeing.
Its superjumbo status, and its continual problems put into mind the Hughes H-4 Hercules, more commonly nicknamed the “Spruce Goose”, constructed of laminated birch and had the largest wingspan wingspan of any aircraft in existence. Only one was built, however. It was designed to be able to transport 750 fully-equipped troops. As a means of comparison, here is a diagram indicating its size in relation to the 380 and the Boeing 747, currently the largest in-use airliner.
The A380 is designed to carry 555 in three classes, or 853 passengers in a single class. Emirates Airlines is the single largest buyer for the 380, and with the delay of delivery, it could seriously affect their growth plans. Other carriers, such as Virgin Atlantic, are counting on their A380 orders to allow them to increase capacity into slot-limited airports such as London Heathrow.
The delays could drive customers to order the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a smaller aircraft emphasizing light-weight materials and increased fuel efficiency design.