back to article Sun sets on superjumbo: Last Airbus A380 rolls off the production line

The last bolts have been fastened to the last Airbus A380, marking the end of manufacture for the world's most capacious passenger aircraft. The European aerospace corporation marked the occasion with a post noting that the plane is the 123rd A380 in the fleet of Dubai-based carrier Emirates, and the 251st of its type. The …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was able to take a shower on an A380 (first class on Emirates). Admittedly, it's probably incredibly wasteful, but it's certainly something you remember.

    1. spireite Silver badge

      Was that befiore, during or after the busty blonde sat in the adjacent suite?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        All three

    2. Barking mad

      Crossed that one off my bucket list too. Still wonder what happens if you have to return to your seat in a hurry.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Some video footage has emerged of an event in First Class on the flight in question

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    They only made 251 ?

    That does not seem much for a model that cost a ton of money to develop.

    Boeing made more than a thousand of its famous 747s.

    Airbus will only have made a fifth of that. Too bad.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: They only made 251 ?

      Possibly, but that's still a lot of planes in a short time. Also, much of the technology developed for the A380 has been used on subsequent models like the A350, which came into service much sooner than originally anticipated.

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: They only made 251 ?

      For an aircraft this big 251 is quite an achievement. Before the A380 appeared Boeings 747 had no similar sized competition for 30 years and 'only' around 1,400 were built1. Many early 747s were replacing fairly newish smaller models like the Tristar & DC-10 on long distance high capacity routes especially trans-oceanic where twin-jets had severe safety restrictions2.

      During the A380 production run (15 years) Boeing wheeled out around two hundred 747s so the market for four engined jets was on a downward trend already. Modern large twins are easily comparable to early 747s with far lower running costs than a new 380/747.

      1Over the last 30 years, the big twin-jets B777/787 & A330/350 have managed some 5000 orders (& slowly counting). For comparison the mid size B737 & A3xx types which can now travel most routes have a combined count of 25,000+. It took 20 years for the 737 to reach 2500 aircraft by the end of the 1980s, in 2018 alone they delivered nearly 600 and have 4,000+ on order, the A3xx has over 5,500+ on order.

      2ETOPS rules required any sub 4 engined aircraft to always be within 60 minutes flight time to a diversionary landing strip. This was reduced to sub 3 engines in 1964 leading to the 200-300 seat triples with lower running costs compared to a B707. The 60 min limit has been extended over the years as engines improved in power & reliability, some specific aircraft/engine/route combinations are now allowed to be several hours from a diversion strip.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: They only made 251 ?

        ETOPS: Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim

        1. IceC0ld

          Re: They only made 251 ?

          T - rust

          I - ts

          T - urning

          S - wiftly

          U - nder

          P - ower

    3. gecho

      Re: They only made 251 ?

      And I believe at least 3 have been scrapped for parts already.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: They only made 251 ?

        According to some information here, seven (out of a total of 254 ???) have been scrapped.

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: They only made 251 ?

      If Boris ordered an A380 for Boris Force One, a bigger "United Kingdom" and Union Jack could have been painted on it. I guess there's still a few months left for him to find a few million not trousered by his mates on covid contracts to pick one up on the cheap - there's quite a few in storage at the moment - he could say it's for bringing in covid related freight/vaccines - even though the A380 is not a good as a freighter as a 747, as a commentard mentioned elsewhere here

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: They only made 251 ?

        they never made a freight version, the plans were for a stretched -900 version then a -900F, but the double bubble, ETOPS and the GTF and the 2008 fuel price spike, when there was only a handful in the air, killed the demand.

        If they could have gone to a single engine supplier and re-engined them with GTFs they could have had a place in the fleets.

  3. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Look Up

    When I first saw an A380 approaching MAN it took my mind a moment to realise that it wasn't an A340 flying low but a really huge aeroplane at the usual height for turning onto final approach. It's a very large aircraft.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Look Up

      I live in Brittany, and saw it passing over for its flight trials. A hell of a lot quieter than I expected.

      Between that and the Beluga, the "Holy Shit!" quota has been maxed out and then broken.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Look Up

      Yes it's easy to have a Father Ted "These are small but those ones are far away" moment with the A380, except the the "small" one is an 80m long A340...

      There's some hilarious plane spotter footage on YouTube of A380 approaches, with commentaries like "it'll be here in a minute". Nope, 2 minutes later it is still on the approach. it's just massive!

      1. Ace2 Bronze badge

        Re: Look Up

        A previous employer built a new datacenter across the street from my office window. At the grand opening tour, we went downstairs, crossed the parking lot, crossed the street, and walked up the driveway… and then kept walking and walking and walking. It was at least 2x further away than it looked, and damned impressive to stand next to.

  4. johnB

    Floats into the sky

    Great plane for passengers - it just seems to float into the sky from takeoff. Amazing given it’s huge bulk. I seem to recall the wingtips rise by something like 2 (or is it 4 ?) metres by the time it takes off.

    I look forwards to reflying it once this pandemic is past. (Emirates to Dubai means I don’t have to use Heathrow - a holiday bonus in itself).

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Floats into the sky

      I remember taking off from LHR and marvelling at how steep the pilot could take it and how sharp the big beast could turn. I'm sure it was nowhere close, but it felt like being in jet fighter at an airshow compared to previous flights.

  5. Crypto Monad

    Watching them drift almost noiselessly into Heathrow reminded me of a "Fisher Price" aeroplane: far too thick and stubby to be a real aeroplane!

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Landing almost noiselessly at Heathrow is their greatest party trick. LHR is exactly what they had in mind, a major hub with noise restrictions limiting the hours a noisy aircraft can land.

      No point flying 8000 miles in blissful spaciousness only for the pilot to say that they can't land until Hounslow has woken up and gone out for the day.

      They're astonishingly quiet inside too. I was very impressed.

      The 787 is supposed to be quiet inside too, but most airlines opted out of the heavy sound insulation in economy class.

  6. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Knock-on effects

    Perhaps between this, security theatre and COVID we'll finally see the end of hub-and-spoke operations, with all the misery of changing planes and hanging about for hours in overcrowded transfer areas & security queues, at monster airports. Flying in smaller planes direct from regional airports is a far more relaxing experience, no matter how comfortable the aircraft itself may be inside.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Knock-on effects

      That'll be a good plan once the smaller planes have enough range and are economic and comfortable enough for proper long-haul.

      Yes flying direct between small regional airfields is great. I spent some time happily shuttling between LCY and Eindhoven, which was brilliant at both ends.

      However, my usual flights between the UK and Australia have quite different requirements.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Knock-on effects

        The BA 787 from LHR direct to San Jose is so much better than the 380 to SFO + the drive.

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Knock-on effects

      The knock-on effect has actually gone the other way. It is the trend towards direct local-to-local flights which has killed the demand for hub-and-spoke flights and the associated hub-to-hub giants. That was the A380's main market, so the ones already in service are more than enough to meet the demand.

      The other thing that killed it is the advent of very reliable giant turbofans, making it safe to fly trans-oceanic on only two engines; that significantly cuts cost over running four of the perishers.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Knock-on effects

        Er, the engines on the A380 are giant turbofans. Not quite up there with the GE90 perhaps. The RR engine is supposed to be half a ton lighter than the GE offering on the A380.

        However, despite its age and engine count, the A380 is competitively efficient providing that you can fill it up. Sure you've got 4 engines to service. But the alternative is 2 x something else to carry the same number of passengers, and that's 4 engines 2 crews more brakes more wheels 2 landing and take-off slots 2 gates, and more fuel. Some airports charge less for an A380 because its bringing hundreds more duty free shoppers than anything else. And you can charge a comfort premium on A380 ticket prices that you can't on a lot of Boeing products.

        It's only really Emirates that's made the A380 work, their geographical position being ideal. The Middle East really is a global hub.

        They used to run 2 A380s Manchester to Dubai and 1 777ER. They couldn't sell tickets on the 777ER so they replaced it with another A380, which was a sell out success. People really do like flying on those aircraft.

        The only comparable one for comfort is the A350, though that's not got a shower. I've heard the A330neo is nice too.

        787 is a let down because most airlines don't buy the sound insulation... And it's cramped inside.

        1. steelpillow Silver badge

          Re: Knock-on effects

          "Er, the engines on the A380 are giant turbofans."

          Yes indeed. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. The point is that it took a while before the necessary super-reliability and sustained excess thrust could be achieved, to allow the smaller twins safely out over the distant oceans.

          1. bazza Silver badge

            Re: Knock-on effects

            Amazinglly, a twin engined A380-esque design has been discussed, with 2 truly monster engines. Didn't get anywhere because the real issue is that few airlines can fill up a plane that big.

            1. anothercynic Silver badge

              Re: Knock-on effects

              The 777X will be sporting the world's largest turbofan (the GE9X), which is the same model as on the B747-8F and some 747-8I passenger jets.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty agile for a big bugger

    I live in Farnborough under the fligt path and saw it being chucked around the sky at the airshow a few years ago. Amazing what a big plane can do when you don't have to worry about passengers throwing up everywhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pretty agile for a big bugger


      That huge thing flying quietly over your home is an awesome wonder.

      I was also amazed at how quiet the A350 is.

      While it’s great watching aircraft, I really hate that stench of avgas.

      Make sure you send in a complaint every time you smell aviation fuel.

      I suspect it’s only 1 or 2 aircraft causing the stench.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Pretty agile for a big bugger

        meh, I don't really mind the smell of avgas. It's the tetraethyllead that is in some of them that is a bit problematic.

      2. Andrew Newstead

        Re: Pretty agile for a big bugger

        Avtur, avgas is for piston engines prop jobs.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Pretty agile for a big bugger

      It is at Farnborough where I had the pleasure of standing under its wingtip as it slowly taxied out for its number... And it was incredible to listen to the vast difference in noise levels between the small twin jet corporate jobbies (loud as f***) and the A380 (OMG, how quiet was that thing at takeoff power!) at takeoff roll.

      And the pilots who get to fly this 'baby' say it is such a pleasure to fly, although I know a couple of BA 747 pilots who switched to the Airbus say it's a bittersweet switch because they love the Queen of the Skies more (iconic!) despite being not quite the same smooth ride as the A380. But they both have a place in the sky...

  8. The Original Steve

    Gutted and excited

    Never flown on a 380, but my brother and me paid for my mum (with us going with her!) to go to Mauritius for her 60th which was meant to be last year. I went out of my way to ensure that we flew business on the A380. Really hoping that's still an option when the world has reopened...!

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Gutted and excited

      Qatar Airways and Emirates are both operating their A380s again, despite Qatar saying they wouldn't really bring them back. :-)

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    It wasn't cancelled because it was expensive to operate

    The A380, or something like it, is still a very interesting proposition for airlines because, if you can fill it with paying passengers, it's cheaper to run than two smaller craft. It's no coincidence that Emirates was a big fan: it's the perfect plane for the Haj. However, after it came into service the market moved away from the mega-hub model towards more point-to-point services. This means fewer passengers on any particular route and, hence, smaller planes.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: It wasn't cancelled because it was expensive to operate

      Considering the current price of shipping containers and freight space on the oceans, is air freight becoming relatively cheaper for the high value, "urgent" products to be shipped aboard a cargo A380? Or any of the other passenger aircraft that could be converted and, in some cases, are either sitting around waiting for passenger numbers to pick up or even being sent to the scrappers?

      Or is that still far more expensive?

      ISTR it being posted here that passenger flights rely on cargo to help keep the prices down.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: It wasn't cancelled because it was expensive to operate

        ISTR it being posted here that passenger flights rely on cargo to help keep the prices down.

        There is a reason B747 combis were very popular with some airlines.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: It wasn't cancelled because it was expensive to operate

        A lot of passenger planes were converted to freight last year: there's always a market.

      3. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: It wasn't cancelled because it was expensive to operate

        The single-deck jets are already a known quantity. Boeing and various other third party companies already know what is required to turn a single deck passenger jet into a freighter. From the A320/B737 up to the A330/B777 there's plenty to pick from.

        The A380 will be more difficult to convert, mostly because Airbus canned the A380F project (which cost them a massive FedEx order), and there'll have to be research into how much the intermediate floor (the floor between cargo and the 'main' deck) needs to be strengthened to allow containers on the main deck, and also what needs to be done for a cargo door on the main deck.

        The upper floor would also need strengthening, but probably not quite to the extent the main floor would need to be. I think FedEx had meant to put the voluminous but light paletted cargo on the upper deck, with containers in cargo and on the main floor, but who knows. The B747F doesn't run cargo on the upper deck, so it's effectively the same as a single-decker. :-)

  10. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    I love being a passenger on an A380 (or any other large Airbus plane for that matter), so much quieter than the B747 and B777.

  11. batfink Silver badge

    A380 for long haul every time

    I fly between UK and Australia regularly (at least in normal times). Always cattle-class, as the cost of Business Class is roughly the cost of the entire rest of the trip.

    Nowadays I'll only fly emirates, as I can specify A380's the whole way. Nothing else compares for comfort on that trip. Well, not at a reasonable price, anyway.

    1. mickaroo

      Re: A380 for long haul every time

      Only flown an A380 once... Singapore Airlines from Frankfurt to Changi.

      Amazed at how quiet the aircraft was, and SIA plain-vanilla Economy rivals some other airlines' Premium.

      1. minnsey231

        Re: A380 for long haul every time

        "plain vanilla" +1

        If only because I always seem to be plied with ice cream whenever flying on A380s

  12. imanidiot Silver badge


    Not really surprising. It was already clear from the first roll out that the A380 was never going to be a huge sales success. The program had suffered long delays and took so long to go from first concepts to actual aicraft that by the time it was actually built, the airline model on which it relied was already obsolete. The writing was already on the wall for the 747 passenger version by that time, as that too had been seeing dwindling sales numbers year on year. Boeing has already built the last 747 passenger jet ever and the last 747 (a freighter) will leave the line in 2022. One of the reasons the 747 has become so successful for so long is that it can be converted to freighter duty at the end of it's useful passenger carrying days, which means they keep value better and have remained interesting for airlines for longer for that reason. The 380 can't economically be converted to freighter duty (as the upper deck isn't strong enough to carry freight).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: inevitable

      "The 380 can't economically be converted to freighter duty (as the upper deck isn't strong enough to carry freight)."

      Ah, that answers my question up thread, thanks.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: inevitable

        And without a lifting nose, it isn't suitable for extremely long cargo either.

  13. Franco Silver badge

    There was a big fuss when the first one came to Glasgow and the airport got an upgrade for the Glasgow-Dubai route. IIRC one A380 took over the route later as opposed to 2 daily flights with a smaller aircraft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The switch to one A380 flight/day on GLA-DXB was because of a temporary reduction in runway capacity in Dubai. Once the runway there had been upgraded, Emirates withdrew the A380 and went back to two daily flights with 777s(?). I think Emirates hoped to have an A380 permanently on the route for one of those flights but Covid19 put the kibosh on that. Sob.

      BTW the A380 "upgrade" at GLA was just an extra door and jetway at one of the gates.

      It's a shame the A380's has had such a short life. Passengers really like them. Too bad the plane only makes sense on long haul routes in and out of the really busy hub airports like DXB and LHR.

      1. Calum Morrison

        My then office was on the flight-path (What's it called? Cumbernauld!) and one day in the summer there was the highly unusual - and probably unique - sight of a Virgin 747 tailing the Emirates A380 over the Campsies.

        That was in 2019 and I think it's safe to say we'll never see the likes of that approaching Glasgow again ;-(

        Arrivals must have been mobbed shortly afterwards.

      2. Franco Silver badge

        Glasgow was a bit parochial for a time about even the slightest upgrade though, largely because Edinburgh overtook them as Scotland's busiest airport.

        Didn't know they'd gone back to the 777s (IIRC it was 777-300s although 2006 was the last time I flew Emirates out of Glasgow on the way to Thailand), it was supposed to be a permanent switch to the A380 but I suspect we might be in for a long wait for that. Likely going to go down to one flight a day if even that given the current circumstances.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          I remember enjoying EDI when it was the smaller cousin, few queues, OK cafes air-side, plans usually on-time or sometimes you arrived early and it was cleared for landing no problem.

          Last decade or so the increase in numbers, the forced march long route through duty-free, and added security theatre, made the whole thing suck big-time. Quite pleased to hardly fly any more!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember taking this a few times to Dubai. The main problem I noticed straight away is that airport boarding gates, baggage claims and related infrastructure were all made to accommodate 200-300 passengers, not 500 (the only exception being the Dubai airport was always pretty slick)... hence anytime I had an A380 to get on, it was twice as slow boarding and getting off than any other plane, which I imagine would eliminate a lot of the margin made on having one airplane slot and not two...

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      That must have been due to the airport(s) you used, I experienced no such problems at Schiphol (Amsterdam) or Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok) (nor as you mentioned Dubai).

  15. stiine Silver badge

    "or Sydney to Dallas. Your correspondent flew that sector on several occasions and found it convenient but exhausting."

    Awww... Did they make you pedal the entire trip?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I must admit, I found that statement curious. Surely a single journey, no matter it's length, is going to be quicker and less exhausting than the same trip with a stop-over to refuel, or a plane change. Especially in light of the many people posting their delight at flying Emirates compared to other, more cramped operators planes.

      I speak as someone who hasn't flown for 30 years and has never done a long haul flight, so might well be postulating utter rubbish here.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        It is a trade-off, with cheaper flights and better planes (as far as passenger comfort goes), that transfer can become very acceptable. I prefer direct flights, but the savings alone for a family of four already convinced me once to fly Emirates, the A380 experience made sure I won't hesitate a next time.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Fuel prices are in the process of snapping back to "normality" after several years of price wars aimed at putting American tight oil producers (and Russia) out of business

          The world passed "peak oil" in 2003 - "peak oil" doesn't mean "peak production", it means the "easy/sweet" oil is mostly gone and what's left is both harder to get at (tight oil) and/or requires more expensive refining techniques (sour crudes)

          You can expect to see $100+/BBL pricing resume again. Once it hits $200/BBL then alternate (non-fossil) sources are viable - but it also makes hub/spoke airline models the most economic way to operate again. A380 was simply the right plane at the wrong time and the wrong time wasn't something anyone in the industry could really forsee (but if it is reintroduced it needs better engines and vastly better wake turbulence reduction)

          BWB and Vbody aircraft are not practical for self-loading cargo (PAX) use. The 90 second evacuation rule won't be feasible

  16. Matthew Taylor

    Old already?

    I'm not keeping up with the times. I still thought the A380 was new-fangled.

  17. Alistair

    YYZ <-> DBX

    I suspect it was at least 10 years ago when TO got an Emirates Dubai run, it was weekly, not daily, but I recall for the third or fourth week I stopped at the Wendies on Airport road. (If you know you live in TO) on my way home from work. The damn thing is monstrously large, and I have to say its about 1/3rd to 1/4 the noise of a 737 coming in over the parking lot. There was quite a crowd there for the moment. Lots of video cameras in action. Mind you when the reversers kicked in after it was down, that is one LOUD aircraft at full throttle.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: YYZ <-> DBX

      And, as it has only 2 thrust reversers (the outboard engines don't have them), the loudness was only 1/2 of what it can do!

  18. Lucy in the Sky (with Diamonds)

    Back in the good old days...

    When I was young, back in nineteen hundred and seventy, those were the days...

    Men were on the Moon, Concorde was flying in the skies, it was cool to smoke on airplanes and people could speak their minds without offending others.

    I have been convinced for over fifty years that I was born at least a hundred years too late.

    Would have loved to live in Victorian SteamPunk times, with a touch of Jules Verne tossed in.

    Superjumbo airships, with a jolly good Cricket field on the poop deck. Build a mighty big cannon in Baltimore and shoot people to the Moon...

    That sort of thing...

    1. mark4155

      Re: Back in the good old days...

      Well said old bean!

      Wooster Towers



      Whitehall 2178 (Please don't share).

    2. Sub 20 Pilot

      Re: Back in the good old days...

      Agree with everything except smoking on a plane. Have never smoked and fucking hate the smell - nothing to do with health. Absolutely hate waking up with stale smoke on my clothes when travelling or working in non EU countries.

      100% in favour of people smoking if they want to just keep to your own house / space. I have never pissed or spat on the corner of anyone's plate and said 'just accept it or stay home' which seems to be the primary attitude of hardcore 'freedom smokers' everywhere that I have been to.

      1. Ace2 Bronze badge

        Re: Back in the good old days...

        Don’t forget, “…and throw their trash on the ground wherever and expect everyone else to deal with it.”

  19. Flicker

    Fatter Albert..

    Two other reasons why they (and other recent kit like 787/A350) are so nice to fly in for the self-loading freight...

    1) The cabin is pressurised to a lower height / higher bar than older 747 / 777 / 340, so higher oxygen content means you feel far less knackered at the end of a long sector.

    2) They don't use engine bleed-air to warm the cabin air so no really nasty, unexplained headaches as the oil seals start to degrade.

    Apart from runway length (and runway / taxiway / apron weight limits), their other problem for airports was the cost of all the gate modifications needed to handle them - extra, elevated jetways, more gate lounge capacity etc.. You need to be pretty confident of ongoing demand before laying down that load of capital.

    But lovely to fly in, although to my eyes they look horrid and dumpy next to a 787, which is a thing of elegance and beauty!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Fatter Albert..

      " their other problem for airports was the cost of all the gate modifications needed to handle them"

      No different to what was needed back in the 1970s for B747s or the 1950s for B707s

      B777s were introduced with folding wingtip options because of the gate issue. Nobody ever bought that option and gates were modified. B777X has the folding wingtips but I wonder how many will be de-optioned.

  20. Overflowing Stack

    The Jet-Age is coming to an end

    Musk's Starship is going to pull the rug from under the airlines/Boeing/Airbus, they'll all go bust in the next 5 years. Business class and above will choose a cramped, no frills 30 minute "flight" point to point anywhere on earth over 8/12/18/24 hours in a tube flown by meatheads whilst smelling other people's farts.

    Rockets were around before Jets in much the same way as EVs were before combustion engine cars.

    The future is the past!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Jet-Age is coming to an end

      Economics aside: not everybody is going to want to endure the scariest and most vomit-inducing 30 minute experience they'll ever have.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Jet-Age is coming to an end

      The same claim could have been made for Concorde. In practice, the time you spend queuing, loading and unloading, plus ground transportation at each end, means the reduction in overall time is not as impressive as you first thought.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Jet-Age is coming to an end

      You mean Musk's kerosene burning rockets that punch holes through the ionosphere?

      It's reverse carbon offset.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: The Jet-Age is coming to an end

        It's reverse carbon offset.

        He'll offset against the credits Tesla gets for not producing ICE cars - read somewhere Tesla has been able to trade carbon credits very profitably that way - but it's not a fiddle that is infinite in scope

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: The Jet-Age is coming to an end

        El-Musko is now pushing Sabatier process as his fueling source.

        The problem with THAT is that to be viable he'll need molten salt nuclear power (conventional nuclear isn't hot enough) and the only such working(*) reactor in the world is currently in the Gobi Desert - a 2MW rebuild of the 1960s 8MW Oak Ridge Experiment aimed at validating Alvin Weinberg's work before moving onto 100MWe production

        (*) SHOULD be working. It was scheduled for criticality in October 2021, but no news on whether that's happened,

        Yes, that's the Thorium reactor design that Lester was championing on this site all those years ago

  21. Lars Silver badge

    Emirates First Class A380

    Emirates First Class A380 - 25 Hours Cairo to New York

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BA's fleet

    The best seat on a BA A380 is the upper deck on a BA 747.

    1. Lon24 Silver badge

      Re: BA's fleet

      Yes - I remember an Air France 747 upper deck flight from Bombay to CDG in the mid-70s. The cockpit door was left open in those days and when I woke from a doze I saw a lady far too young to be his wife sitting on the captain's knee.

      It wasn't until we could see the CDG landing lights that she arose, adjusted her dress and returned to the cabin in perfect Gallic style. I guess that was what passed for in-flight entertainment ...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    upper deck on the 380 is nice

    Used to fly LAX to CDG Premium Economy, which isn’t that much more and occasionally less, if you’re lucky. Screaming children are usually on the deck below in Steerage.

    Not quite as nice as the Business Class upper deck on Singapore Airlines 747 though.

  24. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Best aircraft ever for long haul

    Australians know about long haul, only too well. The 380 was and is a more comfortable aircraft than any Boeing offering. Spacious, quiet and very stable.

    Business Class in a 380, with a premium airline like Emirates, is sublime. I will always choose to travel LH in a 380, while they exist. Their operating life should see me out.

  25. Andy Denton

    I flew an A380 with Emirates economy Manchester to Auckland (with stops in Dubai and Brisbane) and of all the planes I've flown in (a lot) it was by far the most comfortable and quietest. I shudder to think what a 27 hour flight would have been like in the equivalent 747. Whilst I appreciate the reasons for it, I'm sad that such a superb plane will no longer be made.

  26. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "Impressive acoustic qualities"

    Akin to a "hole in the noise" when it flies above London. You look up to see what's missing and see it hanging in the air in precisely the way that bricks don't.

  27. jollyboyspecial

    Top Deck

    It's worth noting that the top deck on the 747 was there for practical reasons rather than increasing passenger capacity.

    The story goes that in order to make the airframe as versatile as possible (and also to offset development costs should the 747 be unpopular as a passenger aircraft) Boeing decided to place the cockpit up high to allow the nose to open fully and give unipeded access to the cargo bay. With the cockpit sticking up over the top of the fuselage they decided on that extended area behind it which could be used for extra passenger capacity, or as a bar or whatever else it's been used for over the years.

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