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A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 3:36 am

I found this article:

The Airbus A380 is so large that it cannot park at a terminal designed for a row of Boeing 747s. It is so long that it will handle some taxiways like a tractor-trailer truck turning into a suburban driveway, wheels mushing into the grass and mud.

It is so heavy that it cannot taxi across some culverts and bridges, including spans over expressways at Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Its engines are spaced so far apart that their exhaust could fry a runway's guide lights. Its body is so wide and tall that tower controllers may have to ban aircraft from nearby runways and taxiways before the plane lands or takes off.

And it carries so many passengers, up to 555 in the initial version and potentially up to 800 - nearly double the passenger load of a 747 - that flights may have to use two baggage-claim carousels at a time to handle all the suitcases.

Source : New York Times

Do you think there's any truth in this?? Will this affect sales??


RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 3:45 am

And it is so technologically advanced that it will take air travel to a new dimension in the 21st century.

It hasn't affected sales yet, with SQ, QF, EK, AF, Fedex already ordering it; with Atlas and LH to jump on board soon as well.

Hardly what I would call a sales drought for a new airliner, especially when the product offered by Boeing has won only a token order from QF.
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 4:20 am

There will be problems all over.
The last many times I visited ZRH that airport couldn't even accommodate an ARJ-85. The plane was parked somewhere out in the wildernes where we entered some busses which some time later drove us on a loooong journey around the airport and finally delivered us at a "gate".
That way the avarage "jet speed" from gate to gate decreased from around M=0.60 to well below M=0.50.
But what does it matter when it works, it's safe, and it's payable.
All sorts of planes - including the A380 - will suffer from such problems. Airports are always planned to be rebuilt to manage current traffic. But rebuilding takes a long time, and by the time a rebuilding has been finished the airport is equally overloaded again.
The A380 will require more busses than other planes. And then, if the upper deck pax are not going to leave the plane through internal stairs and the lower deck, then some smart welder at the airport will have to construct loooong external stairs which can be rolled to the upper deck door.
That's very likely how it's going to happen.
Best regards, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 5:58 am


Psst--the Airbus A380 is NOT designed for an airport like ZRH.

It is designed for the really large airports like JFK, IAD, MIA, ORD, DFW, DEN, SEA, SFO, LAX and HNL in the USA, LHR, FRA, MUC and CDG in Europe, and NRT, KIX, SEL, PEK, PVG, HKG, TPE, BKK, SIN, MEL and SYD in in Australasia.

On trans-Pacific routes, the really do need this plane; flights between the USA and NRT, SEL and HKG always tend to be extremely full year round, and you know the A380 will be fully-loaded even on these trans-Pacific routes.


Wed Jan 31, 2001 6:12 am

I think you are over stating its size.The A380 will only take up as much spce as 2 747's parked side by side.
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RE: 777kicksass

Wed Jan 31, 2001 8:46 am

The wheelbase won't be any more than the C-5's, so the taxi problem won't be any biggie. The bridge problem will be true, however. The wingspan is'nt that big. Remember the A380 is basically the size of a 747 that has the double deck go all the way back. The runways at it's intended airports are all over 200 ft wide, and the engine layout is not very much wider than a 747s.
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 8:55 am

Actually, someone in a previous post stated the A380 is planned to have the same wheelbase as the 777, allowing it to use airports already modified for Boeing's bird.
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 8:58 am

I flew on a CityFlyer Express Avro RJ100 from London Gatwick to Zurich. I had to park out on the tarmac just like you did. The reason isn't because the airport can't handle it. If Zurich can handle a 747-400 with ease, than a ARJ-100 is no problem! The reason is ZRH doesn't have enough gates, thats why there are many planes parked outside, its the same for Gatwick also. They are building a new terminal in ZRH and it should open next year a believe, this will allow all planes to park an a gate now.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
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RE: 777kicksass

Wed Jan 31, 2001 8:58 am

Like aerotech said, apart from the weight problem at certain spots, the plane won't be much of a problem, I believe.

Permit a personnal feeling, it's funny that all the doubts about the A380's success always seems to be coming from the U.S.... I wonder why...

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Wed Jan 31, 2001 9:28 am

Sure BA. I know that the ZRH problem is a capacity problem. And they are building a new terminal.
That's how it is. All major European airports seem to build a new terminal at the moment.
And when it opens, then they will just scrape by, but be terribly short of parking, check-in counters, baggage handling facilities or something else. And while these shortcomings are corrected, then the number of gates will be too small again, and the old busses will get a new era.
All major airports are always too small to be able to function as intended. Shortcuts are usually found to compensate.
My clue was that some airports may also have to make some shortcuts to be able to "accommodate" an A380 in the beginning. But when in, say, 2010 a new terminal is opened, then it will of course be made so it can accept A380s at a few gates.
It's nothing special for airports. Columbus would also have had a problem docking his ship in "West India" if he had crossed the pond in Queen Mary.
Best regards, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 9:39 am

The journalist of this New York Times may not be an aviation expert. He may lack of understanding of the civilian aviation. What he wrote about A 380 is very extraordinary.

In fact, the size of A 380 is comparable to Boeing 747-400. AN 225 is larger than A 380. Another large aircraft is US C5 Galaxy. These two giants can dwarf A 380.

First generation of A 380's length (73 m / 239ft 6in) is shorter than A 340-600! The wing span of A 380 is only 79.8 m (261ft 10in), well within 80m by 80 m box.

B 747-400's total length: 70.6 m ( 231 ft 10 in )
B 747-400's wing span: 64.4 m (211 ft 5 in)

A 340-600's total length: 75.30m (246ft 11in)

The journalist even missed the point that new proposed of Boeing B 747X Stretch is even longer and larger than first generation of A 380!

Airports always change everytime new larger planes are introduced. Humans have seen big differences between DC 3 and Boeing 747-400.

The pilots of AN 225 and C5 Galaxy can turn their giant planes around in major airport - why not A 380?

Even An 225 and C 5 Galaxy did visit Singapore Changi International Airport and were displayed at Asian Aerospace Exhibition at Changi Airport several years ago. I was there to take a look at two giant planes.  Smile

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RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 10:52 pm

Even the 777-300 of today is as long as a A380!
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Wed Jan 31, 2001 11:49 pm

The more serious issues regarding the A380 do not concern the airside and groundside of an airport as much as it does airspace utilization. A larger and heavier aircraft produces more severe wake, this may require controllers to extend terminal airspace spacing to over six miles (max required for heavy aircraft) for A/C following an A380. Furthermore, runway hold times for takeoff may have to be increased from 120 seconds to accomodate longer wake dissipation periods. By increasing spacing and runway hold times airport capacity will decrease. Since the advent of widebody/heavy jets spacing has increased to 4-6 miles and runway hold times have increased from 60 sec. to 120 sec. this has caused airport system capacity to decrease 20%. The A380 will have the most severe impact on airports that have a high level of aircraft mix.

In places like NRT, SEL, HKG etc. the A380 should pose little disruption to the system. However, at airports like ORD, SEA, LAX and SFO (with high aircraft mix) the A380 could reduce airport capacity as a result of the further spacing and hold constraints it could pose.
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Thu Feb 01, 2001 12:27 am

I think the A380 would work out in Detroit Metro if Northwest decided to order them. I think the new Northwest midfield terminal at DTW has gate designed big enough in case Northwest ordered aircraft larger than the 747-400. I have seen the AN-124 at several airports across the United States, I figure if taxiways and runways can handle the AN-124 then it should handle the A380.

What I was really curious about was where did Airbus get the number 380 from???

What happened to the 350, 360 and 370???
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Thu Feb 01, 2001 1:14 am


Actually, one of the FIRST issues that Airbus addressed when they designed the A380 was the issue of wake turbulence.

Through a lot of wind-tunnel testing and computer modelling, the current A380 design actually has the same level of wake turbulence as the 747-400. If the world's large airports can handle the 747-400 in terms of turbulence seperation, they should be able to handle the A380 with no issues.
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Thu Feb 01, 2001 3:07 am

It may interest you to know that the 757 creates more wake turbulence than the 747. It is not only to do with weight and size, but also aerodynamics...
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RE: A380 Too Big?

Thu Feb 01, 2001 9:06 am


The standard spacing for a 757 is 5 miles in trail.

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