An Airbus A380 with the call sign F-WWOW at Bremen's airport which was celebrating its hundredth birthday that day. PHOTO: Garitzko.

LONDON — Aviation is constantly changing, not just with the planes we fly in but how we travel and where we travel to. The Airbus A380 is one plane that has definitely changed the way we travel forever. The aircraft was designed back in 1991 and at the time, it was an ambitious project that would take many years to truly develop.

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Airbus, however, were not the only ones designing a super jumbo jet, as, after the success of the world-known 747, Boeing also felt that the aviation market was heading that way. This would become a one-horse race though as Boeing had shelved plans to make a larger version of the 747 by 1993, they would later revisit the project and create the 747-800 which would unfortunately not go on to reach the same success as the 747-400.

Photo caption: (Left to right) H.E. Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman of Etihad Aviation Group; H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport; and Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group; inspect the specially-designed Etihad Airways “Year of Zayed” A380 at Etihad Engineering in Abu Dhabi. Picture by Etihad Airways.

By October 2007 the Airbus A380 entered commercial service and the start of hub to hub flying began, the aircraft would go on to see hard times with sales and would bring stress onto the Airbus Group, who were constructing the plane all over Europe and then moving it to the specially built facility in Toulouse, France to build it. It is no secret that many airlines felt the A380 was just too big, not only could only a few airports at the time actually  accommodate such a plane but it would only be able to operate to primary airports such as London’s Heathrow, New York’s JFK and Dubai’s International airport to name but a few.

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So what was the issue with the A380? Well, the issues that affected it then are even worse for it now is the sheer size of the plane which saw an increase in costs from fuel burn.  While it has a very good fuel burn rate for its size there seems to be a never-ending rise in the cost of aviation jet fuel may begin to put a strain on carriers that operate this plane, with this though is also the increasing costs of maintenance, servicing such a large aircraft is not cheap and when route experience low demand, operating such a plane on it can become an expensive problem for an airline.

PHOTO: Emirates.

It needs to be pointed out though that a plane of this size has never existed before and the truth is that despite these shortcomings air travel will never be the same again because of this plane. Just as the Concorde opened the doors to silver service in the air the A380 has opened the doors to increasing passenger comfort and experience. The addition of an onboard shower which can be found on Etihad and Emirates’ A380’s is truly incredible, it is something that not wide-body twin-engine planes can recreate and that alone is just down to the room it takes up.

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Not only has the A380 changed the way we fly, it changed our outlook on aviation as a whole, sometimes great things must pass for better things to come through. However, the A380 is not going anywhere soon, one main concern that people have always had is what future does the A380 have once it has served its purpose with the Asian carriers that operate them, after all the only European carriers that operate theses super jumbos all have a greater profitability of the success of Airbus than the Americas airlines, but that is the beauty of aviation, that sometimes even with everything pointing towards one thing, something else might happen, which is exactly what has happened to the A380, with Portuguese charter and lease company HiFly buying two used Singapore A380’s this jumbo that many had written off is now entering the market many thought it couldn’t.

Wikimedia Commons: Kiefer.

For me the A380 is a symbol of how far we have come in aviation, form the days of prop planes around the world, to supersonic travel and now we are here, the era of relaxation and style, two companies at the forefront of this for me would be Qatar Airways and Emirates, together they have pushed the market and in my opinion have set new markers for how people expect to travel in the future.

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So what is the point in all this? I just want to share with you all my opinion on how the A380 has changed aviation whenever I go on holiday I always check to see if I can book my flight with an airline that operates an A380 on that route. Why? Well, it is clear to me and to many others that the future is not in superjumbo travel, but why not relish the opportunity to try something so magnificent? Why not try out the amazing experience of standing in the onboard bar talking to other passengers while taking in the view.

Emirates A380

Just as people who flew on Concorde talk about it today as if it was yesterday that is what we should all do with the A380. Yes, planes like Boeing’s Dreamliner and Airbus’ A350 are exceptional aircraft, but they are not the King of the skies, that title for me will always be held by the A380, it is the plane of the future and the plane of the past and without the A380 and the innovation to create it, I ask you where would we be now?