However, two years later, instead of aviation becoming sleeker, faster and smaller, it became fatter, slower and bigger. The arrival of the A380 was meant to herald a new era of aviation, yet the aircraft divided opinions.
Passengers loved it for its comfort yet some traditionalists deemed it ugly and ungainly. “The Whale” and “The Pigbus” were just some of the less favourable nicknames it received. However, what one could not argue with is that, like Concorde, it was unique.
Never before had there been an airliner with two complete decks. Never before had an aircraft been able to carry so many people in such comfort. Never before had there been such a feat of engineering that allowed such a massive piece of machinery to fly just like an aircraft a quarter of its size.
Yet, just 16 years after its first flight, Airbus delivered the final ever A380 to Emirates, the largest operator of the aircraft.
Ultimately, the economics of the aircraft just didn’t work out. Boeing had developed the far more fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner, enabling airlines to operate direct services between smaller cities, allowing passengers to travel directly to their destination instead of having to take a connecting flight.
Concorde, gone. The 747, gone. The A380, gone.