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In June 1994 Airbus announced its plan to develop its own very large airliner, designated the A3XX. Airbus considered several designs, including an odd side-by-side combination of two fuselages from the A340, which was Airbus' largest jet at the time. The A3XX was pitted against the VLCT study and Boeing's own New Large Aircraft successor to the 747. From 1997 to 2000, as the East Asian financial crisis darkened the market outlook, Airbus refined its design, targeting a 15-20% reduction in operating costs over the existing Boeing 747–400. The A3XX design converged on a double-decker layout that provided more passenger volume than a traditional single-deck design, in line with traditional hub-and-spoke theory as opposed to the point-to-point theory of the Boeing 777,after conducting an extensive market analysis with over 200 focus groups.

On 19 December 2000, the supervisory board of newly restructured Airbus voted to launch an €8.8-billion programme to build the A3XX, re-christened as the A380, with 50 firm orders from six launch customers. The A380 designation was a break from previous Airbus families, which had progressed sequentially from A300 to A340. It was chosen because the number 8 resembles the double-deck cross section, and is a lucky number in some Asian countries where the aircraft was being marketed. The aircraft configuration was finalised in early 2001, and manufacturing of the first A380 wing box component started on 23 January 2002. The development cost of the A380 had grown to €11 billion when the first aircraft was completed.

Dimension

Overall length: 72.73m

Wing span: 79.15m

Height: 24.07m

Wing area: 845㎡

Cabin width (main deck): 6.58m (21ft 7in)

Cabin width (upper deck): 5.92m (19ft 5in)

Weight

Estimated Empty Weight: 280,000kg (617,300lb)

Maximum Take Off Weight: 560,000kg (1,235,000lb)

Capacity

3-deck-cabin design with the main deck and upper deck for passengers and the basement for goods.

Standard 3-Class arrangement (First Class, Business Class, Economy Class), configured with 506 seats.

Estimated Maximum Payload: 90,800 kg.

Engines

Engine: 4 turbofan jets by Rolls-Royce Ltd Trent900

Thrust: 1,208 kN (271,560 lb)

Maximum Fuel Capacity: 310,000L (81,890 US gal)

Performance

Cruising Speed: 0.85 Mach (around 902km/h, 561miles/h) Highest Cruising Speed: 0.89 Mach (around 945 km/h, 587miles/h)

Flight Distance: 15,100km (9,383 miles)

Flight Altitude: 13,100m (43,000 ft)

Empty Landing Taxi Distance: 2,000m