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The $446 million Airbus A380 is the largest and most expensive airliner in the world. Take a look inside.

Etihad Airbus A380

The Airbus A380 superjumbo is the largest commercial airliner in history. 
The A380 was once thought to have the potential to revolutionize air travel.
Instead, the 331 Airbus superjumbos sold now play more of a niche role for flights operating in high congestion areas. 
The A380 first flew in 2005 and entered service in 2007.
A while back, we had the chance to take a tour of one Etihad‘s A380s. 

The Airbus A380 is one of the most impressive and yet controversial airplanes in aviation history. As the largest airliner in history, the A380 is undoubtedly a technological wonder. 

When the European planemaker dreamed up the A380 three decades ago, it was for an aircraft that would revolutionize air travel with grand visions of unprecedented luxury for passengers and earnings power for airlines. 

Things haven’t worked out quite as well as Airbus had hoped. Instead of becoming the workhorse of airlines around the world, the A380 has become relegated niche duty for high-traffic airports and markets with congestion issues. 

Since the early 2000s, Airbus has managed to sell only 331 A380s with more than half to Dubai’s Emirates Airline. 

In fact, some industry observers like Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia have gone as far as calling it the biggest mistake in the history of Airbus. According to Aboulafia, the A380 is a poorly executed aircraft designed for a market that doesn’t really exist. As a result, the $25 billion Airbus spent on the A380 program could have been better used elsewhere like on a rival for Boeing’s next-generation 777X or a true replacement for the aging 757, Aboulafia told us. 

Regardless of the challenges faced by the A380 program, the superjumbo remains a truly impressive aircraft. In case you’re wondering, the Airbus A380 is the company’s most expensive airliner with a list price of $445.6 million. That’s more than $79 million more than Airbus’s second priciest offering, the A350-1000. The A380’s list price is nearly $43 million more than the Boeing 747-8 and $19.8 million more than Boeing’s next generation 777-9. 

A while back, Etihad Airways gave Business Insider access to one of its A380s on the tarmac at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

Let’s take a closer look at Etihad’s Airbus A380 Superjumbo:

The Airbus A380 made its maiden flight in 2005 before entering service with…
Getty Images
…Singapore Airlines in 2007.
Singapore Airlines
The Superjumbo eventually joined the fleets of Emirates,…
See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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