The World's Biggest Passenger Plane Could Get Even Bigger
Airbus has announced its intentions to make the A380, the world’s largest passenger plane, even bigger.
The plane already measures 262 feet across, however Airbus is considering expanding the plane’s wingspan even more.
In an attempt to cut drag and increase efficiency, Airbus could tack on 16-foot winglets on either side of the plane. The winglets would reduce fuel burn by 4 percent, something Airbus hopes will make the colossal plane more attractive for customers.
However, it’s unlikely that the extension would result in a new model of the plane; The manufacturer is more likely to offer the extension as an add-on for interested airlines.
“We will not launch an A380neo, there’s no business case now to do that, this is absolutely clear,” Airbus President Fabrice Bregier said last week. “But it doesn’t prevent us from looking at what could be done to improve the performance of the aircraft.”
The first A380 debuted in 2000, although the giant plane did not have its first flight until 2005. Singapore Airlines took the plane for its first commercial flight with passengers in 2007.
The gigantic plane is known first and foremost for its unique double-decker layout. It typically seats 525 passengers, although capacity can be increased to 853 people on an all-economy seating plane.
As orders of the A380 slow down (there was only one new A380 sale in 2016), Airbus is considering new ways to make its largest option, which costs $432.6 million, more enticing for airlines. The manufacturer is likely to slow production of the plane starting next year.