Airbus A380 Makes Historic Maiden Flight
The world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, successfully took off on its maiden flight Wednesday, a milestone for aviation and for the European aircraft-maker’s battle with American rival Boeing Co. The giant plane’s four engines hauled its double-decked, 308-ton fuselage aloft at 10:29 a.m., an achievement watched by thousands of spectators 101 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight.
The flight capped 11 years of preparation and $13 billion in spending. Spectators camped out by the airport to be there for what some said was Europe’s biggest aviation event since the first flight of the supersonic Concorde in 1969. The A380, with a catalogue price of $282 million, represents a huge bet by Airbus that international airlines will need bigger aircraft to transport passengers between ever-busier hub airports.
But some analysts say signs of a boom in the market for smaller wide-body planes, such as Boeing’s long-range 787 “Dreamliner,” show that Airbus was wrong to focus so much time and money on its superjumbo.
A superb engineering achievement, regardless of the economic viability.