These are the largest planes in the world: giants in the sky

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Big station for the new aviator: When Airbus presented the first A380 to the public on January 18, 2005, the 5000 invited guests included the heads of state and government of the four main countries involved: Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Jacques Chirac from France and Tony Blair from Great Britain and José Zapatero from Spain.

The four politicians celebrated the victory of European aircraft manufacturers over the Americans: the new flagship of the Airbus Group outperformed the Jumbojet in all dimensions and relegated the Boeing 747 to second place in the passenger aircraft segment.

Only 15 years later, reality caught up with the makers before the corona pandemic: the first copies, which had been in use with Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Air France for ten years, were taken out of service. With regular maintenance, the aircraft could fly for a good 25 years.

But after the leasing contracts expired, a new operator was only found in one case, there hardly seems to be a used market for the Super Airbus.

Since March, almost all A380 operators have parked their aircraft for longer. Air France even separated from all ten copies forever. The former flagship aircraft is threatened with cannibalization and disassembly, much earlier than planned.

Flight into the Guinness Book

The A380 cannot be taken for the time being as the “largest passenger aircraft in the world”. There are constructions that have been forgotten today, even though they set new standards decades ago.

Several planes remained unique, serial production never started. Developments for the military and space travel also belong to the giants of the air: The Antonov An-225 was originally intended to transport the Soviet space shuttle. But the six-engine van from 1988 still flies.

With the largest approved take-off mass of all aircraft built to date, the An-225 can transport industrial machines weighing up to 250 tons.

Also read:

Why the Airbus A380 is scrapped only 15 years after the first rollout

– Boeing 747-8: in an empty jumbo jet over the Atlantic

– Last convoy to Toulouse: When an Airbus A380 rolls through villages


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