The incredible history of the controversial Airbus A380 superjumbo jet

Business Insider | Nov 20, 2017, 09.37PM IST

Airbus A380

REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

  • The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger plane in the world.
  • The superjumbo has now been in service for 10 years.
  • Airbus has booked 317 orders for the plane but is struggling to find new buyers.
  • The A380 is too big, expensive, and inefficient for most operators.
  • The future of the A380 remains uncertain.

In 2007, the Airbus A380 entered service with great fanfare. The gargantuan jet, dubbed the superjumbo, was designed to take everything that made the Boeing 747 an icon and push it to the limits of modern engineering.

A decade later, things are very different for the A380. What was supposed to be a game-changing aircraft is now fighting to survive. With a price tag of $436 million, the A380 is one of the most expensive and lavish airplanes ever built. With room for as many as 800 passengers, the double-decker's sheer size means it's an occasion whenever a superjumbo arrives.

But in a cost-conscious market and with fluctuating fuel prices, the very attributes that made it stand out is also what may have doomed the plane. Some say the A380 came along two decades too late, while others believe with increasing airport congestion, the plane is actually ahead of its time.

Regardless, no one can deny the engineering marvel of the A380. Here's a look at the topsy-turvy history of the Airbus A380 superjumbo.

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