Super Jumbo – dwarfing all! [Picture source]
Upon touching JFK International Airport yesterday – another in Los Angeles later – Airbus A380 created an aviation history. Never ever before, such a huge aircraft of the enormity of A380 that can easily cover a whole football ground wing-to-wing has made a trans-Atlantic voyage. A380 is Airbus Industrie’s dream come true. What is it that it has that has stirred up so much sensation? If you see the image above, the reason of its awaiting with bated breath will be clear.
A380 dwarfs every other aircraft that dots the sky today. It’s a double-decker plane having doors at both levels. Which means 555 passengers it can accommodate (853, if only economy class) can board it simultaneously at two floors. Which also means not every airport can manage A380, which is why JFK Airport has spent close to $200 million to upgrade facilities to welcome the giant aircraft.
Just how mammoth an A380 is? It’s 73 meters long and 24 meters high (equivalent to 8-storey building). Its 4 engines, 2 on each side, can fly up to 8000 nautical miles at a stretch. Its interior is like that of a 5-star hotel, and will have a dance bar, a spacious lounge, relax room, and of course enough space to roam around to beat the boredom of long journey.
So, will India see A380s touching down? In near term, very unlikely (though the super jumbo will be commercially flown only sometime next year). One understands modernization of Mumbai and Delhi airports will be in keeping with ability to have A380 flown in, park, turn around and flown out efficiently. Also, at the other end, the terminal buildings will not only need matching gates at 2 levels, they must also have double-deck aerobridges as well.
Industry experts are already predicting that double-deck super jumbos are the answers of future aviation requirements. This may appear optimistic since the once-famed Concorde supersonic had to end flying in 2003 after a 30-year tenure if only because of unmanageable costs. Will that be A380’s fate too? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, for ‘flying’ enthusiasts, it’s going to be a yearlong wait before being able to board a super jumbo. Worth waiting, won’t you say!