(CNN) – Loved by passengers for its spaciousness and comfort, but disliked by the airlines due to operating costs, the Airbus A380 has already entered the sunset years, even though it debuted commercially only 14 years ago.
The Superjumbo was conceived at a time when larger aircraft carrying hundreds of passengers between hubs were an attractive proposition, but when it began flying, another business model ̵[ads1]1; smaller aircraft connecting smaller airports – had taken over in the aviation industry.
Several airlines – including Emirates, British Airways and Singapore – are now offering long-haul flights on the superjumbo again.
Whether you are planning to take a flight on an A380 while you still have the chance or not, here is our selection of the 20 most interesting facts about this unique aircraft.
Bigger than ever
2. Wires for miles
Cable for aircraft: Each A380 has more than 300 miles of cables.
Gideon Mendel / Corbis / Getty Images
3. Turbulent air
4. A serious paint job
Glossy Canvas: It takes a lot of paint to decorate an A380.
Etienne De Malglaive / Getty Images
It requires 950 liters of paint to cover the entire surface of 38,000 square meters on an A380. A regular coat of paint gives 1400 lbs weight to the aircraft. The process usually takes about two weeks.
5. No need to pack lightly
The load compartment of an A380 can carry up to 3000 suitcases, and two load belts – one at the front and one at the rear – can be used simultaneously to speed up the process.
6. A true globalist
Each A380 is made up of 4 million individual components, produced by 1,500 companies from 30 different countries. They all used to converge by road, air and sea to Toulouse, in the south of France, where the final plane was assembled.
Possibility of showers
Splashy function: A380 has space for showers.
Pawel Dwulit / Toronto Star / Getty Images
8. More space than a basketball court
With its full-length double-deck, the A380 offers almost 6,000 square feet of usable floor space, about 40% more than the second-largest passenger aircraft, the Boeing 747-8.
9. Loved by the Emirates
10. You can own a part of one
Drink it in: Emirates has sold from the bar from a retired A380.
Nicolas Economou / NurPhoto / Getty Images
11. The secret room
12. Not for everyone
Tight fit: Munich’s A380 adaptations.
With permission for Munich Airport
13. The longest flight
Emirates operates the A380’s longest scheduled flight: Dubai to Auckland, 8800 miles and over 17 hours in the air. In 2019, Qantas flew one of its A380s back to base in Sydney from Dresden, Germany, after refurbishment. The plane was empty and flew for over 18 hours and around 10,000 miles.
14. The shortest flight
15. The cargo version that never was
Cargo-only: A380s canceled shipping version.
AFP / Getty Images
When Airbus launched the A380 in December 2000, it offered a cargo version called the A380F, designed to compete with similar models of the Boeing 747. UPS and FedEx initially placed orders on the aircraft, but after being delayed canceled them, leading to cancellation of the A380F program itself.
16. Flappy wings
17. Jumbo depreciation
18. Two per wing
Thirsty workers: The A380 has four jet engines.
Frank Rumpenhorst / DPA / AFP / Getty Images
The aircraft’s four engines are both one of its most characteristic factors and a disadvantage, since they require more fuel than twin-engine jets. They are made by either Rolls-Royce in the UK or Engine Alliance in the US, and can lift the aircraft’s maximum take-off weight of 650 tonnes to a cruising altitude of 15 minutes.
19. No US buyers
One of the main reasons why the A380 was never a commercial success is the fact that not a single US airline has ever bought the aircraft. Major European airlines such as Air France, British Airways and Lufthansa did so, but in small numbers. By the time the A380 was available, US airlines had already moved away from jumbo jets and towards more fuel-efficient, twin-engine aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.
20. A partial comeback
Lufthansa has decided to retire its A380 fleet.
Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images