The Airbus A380 turns 15 this month – here are some incredible facts and stories about the world’s largest jumbo jet

THE largest commercial aircraft is celebrating its 15th anniversary.

The Airbus A380 was first built in 2005, with the first flight taking place on April 27 between Toulouse and Blagnac.

 The Airbus A380 is celebrating its 15th anniversary
The Airbus A380 is celebrating its 15th anniversaryCredit: AFP or licensors

Emirates owns the most aircraft, with over 100 planes, while other airlines such as British Airways and Qantas are just some of the 15 airlines to own some.

It comes as no surprise that the UAE-owned airline has the most – each plane costs nearly half a billion dollars (£362 million).

Sadly, airlines around the world are being forced to ground the A380 along with other aircraft due to the coronavirus crisis.

Last year, it was also announced that the production of the plane will end in 2021 due to a lack of demand.

Here are other interesting facts and stories about the 15-year-old aircraft.

 Emirates own the majority of the A380 with more than 100 aircraft
Emirates own the majority of the A380 with more than 100 aircraftCredit: Reuters

It can carry the most passengers in the world

The plane has a maximum capacity for 853 seats and is the only plane with a full-length upper deck.

However, the majority of airlines offer around 600 seats, once taken first and business class into account.

It is the only aircraft to have a shower on board

Only the Airbus A380 offers showers on board.

Of course, you will have to be in first class on Emirates or Etihad to enjoy the privilege, but no other jet has managed to update their hygiene facilities to the same standard.

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Thankfully, the plane can hold up to  600 gallons of water so you won’t have to worry about it running out mid-flight either.

It has one of the longest non-stop flight routes in the world

While the longest flight in the world goes to the Boeing 787-9, from Singapore to New Jersey , you can still fly for a long time without landing.

The A380 has a route lasting more than 17 hours, when travelling from Auckland to Dubai with Emirates – a route of 8,825 miles.

Fancy the shortest A380 route? You can fly from Dubai to Muscat, just 211 miles.

 If you fly with Emirates in first class, you could experience showers on board
If you fly with Emirates in first class, you could experience showers on boardCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Airports have to be specially modified to handle the plane

The A380 weighs a whopping 1.3 million pounds.

Along with a 261 foot wingspan, it is no wonder that airports have to be modified to house the plane.

In 2010, Manchester Airport spent £10m updating the runways including widening and strengthening them to handle the size of the aircraft.

They could soon become medical wards

There are currently plans to turn some of the planes no longer in use, into medical wards to assist with the pandemic.

According to The Times, planes have “oxygen delivery systems [which] can be hermetically sealed” to reduce the spreading of germs, as well as room for up to 150 ICU beds after removing the passenger seats.

Their location is also a bonus – with many stuck at airports, the airport terminal hotels could be used to house medical staff.

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Add in that they could fly to aid areas with high cases of coronavirus and it all makes perfect sense.

However, it is yet to be authorised, with Project Caircraft being led by surgeon Jonathan Sackier, technology entrepreneur Nick Dyne and aviation analyst Chris Tarry.

 The aircraft is the largest in the world, being able to carry more than 800 passengers
The aircraft is the largest in the world, being able to carry more than 800 passengersCredit: AP:Associated Press
 One man bought an A380 to turn into a private "flying palace" although was never built
One man bought an A380 to turn into a private “flying palace” although was never builtCredit: edese doret industrial design

One jet almost became a private “flying palace”

Due to the high cost, the planes are often flown commercially.

One man, however, bought an A380 with the plane to turn it into his own private jet.

While the plane was never built, it was bought with the intentions to build in 2007 by His Royal Highness Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia.

The jet cost £300 million, but unknown reasons led to the project being scrapped.

Casinos, spas and shops were just some of the other plans which never happened

Due to the large cabins, airlines had exciting plans to add ground-breaking attractions inside the planes.

Virgin Atlantic initially planned to introduce gambling on board, with blackjack and roulette tables, as well as manicurists and spa treatments.

Retail shops, similar to Korean Airlines, were also proposed.

Sadly they never came into fruition with Virgin Atlantic after the airline cancelled their order of the huge jets.

Many of the best in-flight bars in the world are on the A380.

Emirates, Etihad, as well as Korean Air and Qantas all offer fancy bars in the cabins, albeit for business and first class passengers.

The only non-Airbus in-flight bar is Virgin Australia, who added a bar to their Boeing 777 aircraft in 2016.


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