Airbus A380, the Concorde: technical feats, commercial flops
Paris (AFP) - The scratching of the superjumbo jet Airbus A380 echoes the sad fate of the supersonic Concorde, another feat of aviation technology that turned out to be a commercial flop.
- Concorde, supersonic speeds -
The inaugural commercial flight on January 21, 1976 of Concorde, the world's first supersonic passenger plane, promised a revolution in aviation.
Distinctive for its long pointed nose which drooped downwards during take-off for better pilot visibility, the "great white bird" was designed, built and operated jointly by France and Britain.
It was the first computer-controlled commercial aircraft in history and also innovated with a weight-saving aluminium body and triangular delta wings.
The aircraft could fly at over twice the speed of sound, creating its famous "sonic boom" when it burst through the sound barrier.
With a cruising speed of nearly 2,200 kilometres (1,370 miles) an hour, it could get a small number of passengers from Paris to New York in three and a half hours. The same journey in a standard flight today takes around eight hours.
But there were also major, eventually crippling, drawbacks: it was thunderously noisy, reaching nearly 120 decibels at take off, and it guzzled fuel at a rate of 20 tonnes per hour.
Extremely expensive to develop at an estimated final overall cost of around 1.6 billion dollars, according to BAE Systems, only the wealthiest passengers were able to afford the exorbitant ticket prices for its 100-144 seats.
The aircraft -- only ever used by Air France and British Airways, who between them operated 14 planes -- never made a profit.
A crash on July 25, 2000 in a suburb of Paris that killed 113 people was a major blow, with the aircraft grounded for investigations. After the September 2001 air plane attacks in the US that caused a major crisis in the industry, worsening business prospects, the Concorde's fate was sealed.
Air France flew its final commercial Concorde flight in May 2003, and British Airways followed suit in October of the same year.
- Airbus A380, superjumbo-sized -
Boasting double the capacity of a traditional passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380 was also hailed as a turning point for aviation when it arrived in the skies on October 25, 2007.
The world's largest passenger jet, developed by European aerospace giant Airbus, was seen as a step into the future as the industry prepared for soaring numbers of long-haul passengers.
The double-decker, four-engine plane can pack in up to 853 passengers, and has 50 percent more floor space than the next biggest aircraft, the Boeing 747.
Its capacity was seen as a way to combat airport congestion.
By the end of January 2019, 234 aircraft had been delivered around the world, according to Airbus data.
But the size of the A380 turned out to be its weakness.
Even though it is unbeatable in terms of price per seat, an A380 -- which sells for roughly $445 million -- has to fly at near-full capacity to be profitable.
Having envisaged at its outset that it could sell 1,200 planes over 20 years, Airbus has seen orders decline and struggled to find enough buyers to justify its production.
Airbus announced Thursday it would end production of the superjumbo and stop deliveries in 2021.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47049.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Steve19 hours ago
Boeing looked building a competitor to the A-380 and found that the market for a plane this big really did not exist.
ALAN17 hours ago
Airbus will be fine, as they are heavily subsidized by the EU.
David18 hours ago
And yet Airbus' share price just surged on a report of massive profits which Airbus attribute to the A380. These days the so called "news" about everything is so weird and contradictory one doesn't know who to believe.
WildBill17 hours ago
Airbus solved the wrong problem and learned the hard way that bigger is not always better.
Anonymous17 hours ago
Both planes failed for different reasons. The Concorde was to expensive for the everyday person, so it could never attract a large enough of a market. The A380 cost more per a person to fly then the smaller twin engine jets do, so even though you can move more people at one time, it's not as economical to do so.
Demsuck21 hours ago
There's no comparison between the A380 and the Concorde- two totally different types of Aircraft in technology, economics, amount produced, etc.
DontTeaOnMe15 hours ago
A380 is a flop.... But the development of new airplanes has intrinsic value to the company, in terms of engineering and expertise that can be used in other airplanes. I bet they don't have any production wiring problems anymore :)
M X20 hours ago
Kinda funny that both planes were a result of European aerospace companies going out on a limb instead of out and out copying Boeing and their designs. It's the only time they have done and both times has cost them billions.
Arizona Pete4 hours ago
What hurt the Concorde was America not allowing it to fly supersonic over land, which limited its use in the USA
Faulk15 hours ago
The concord flew for 27 years and that's a flop?
Tex4 hours ago
The advertising value that the Concorde gave to Air France and British Airways was considerable.
Exercise Your Brain16 hours ago
Long live the dreamers and innovators, may we us never forget that the US is the country of Innovation and Freedom, not fear and greed.
Pepe Pepe4 hours ago
The A380 was just too big and too inefficient to be attractive to the commercial airline industry.
The only reason it was "cheap" (for the size) was because the EU heavily subsidized the production. A subsidy that already ended.
Kevin14 hours ago
Airbus elected to build A380 but Boeing elected to build Dreamliner. Boeing wins.
WakeUpAmerica14 hours ago
'Commercial flops' are the trademark of the EU nations who have government handouts to back up their 'pipe dreams'!!! First you need to do RESEARCH to see if there's a need then you need to build a RELIABLE QUALITY PRODUCT!!!
cirtap3 hours ago
As of Jan. 2019 Airbus sold 234 A380’s.
Boeing Sold 747’s 1,540
Weston4 hours ago
Yeah, the A380 was a commercial flop but, dang, that was a wonderful plane on which to fly. Did several long-hauls on it. Very comfortable, very quiet.
derek7 minutes ago
European ego trips -- poor tax payers
Steve14 hours ago
No technical feats at all. It's more like how to waste taxpayer money.
Charles8 hours ago
Boeing Blamed for Massive Chinese Counterfeit Parts Knowingly Installed and Kept on Its B737 Flight Control Systems