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Airbus A380

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Priyal Patel

on 16 December 2014

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Transcript of Airbus A380

-Priyal Patel
Airbus A380
Airbus started planning and designing A380 in 1990, and took 17 years before its first flight in 2007. It goes to shows how complex and detailed the process is, which is perhaps why Airbus has a worldwide network of distinct, specialized design and engineering offices. These facilities are responsible for the general design, structural design, architectural integration, and propulsion of the aircraft.

Step 1: Design and Engineering
Step 2: Production of Major Sections
Step 3: Transportation of major sections
Step 4: Final Assembly, Testing, and Certification
Step 5: Delivery to Customers
Step 6: Airlines flying A380s
The locations of these facilities are dispersed through Europe, North America and Asia; so that they can leverage the markets efficiently. These include France, Spain, UK, Russia, Germany, United States, India, and China.

The effect of its design on international aviation
Two of the world's major aircraft producers, Boeing and Airbus, have always been in competition. Boeing is an American company, with headquarters in Chicago, whereas Airbus is primarily European, with headquarters in Toulouse, France.

Since aircrafts are such capital-intensive commodities, naturally their impact on national economies is huge.

Before the design and production of Airbus A380, Boeing 747 was the largest passenger aircraft. Airbus A380 was designed to replace Boeing's model with a larger, heavier aircraft that would meet the aviation industry's growing needs.

This design proved very efficient, and Airbus A380s gained popularity over Boeing 747s; thus shifting the power of aviation manufacturing from US to Europe.
Increase in employment and economy in Europe followed.
Environmental effects of production
The production of airplanes parts so huge require a lot of space. Several natural landmasses have been disturbed in the process.

The expansion of Airbus's facility in Hamburg, Germany exemplifies this. The production site in Hamburg needed more space to build the larger aircraft, about three giant buildings. As a result, the nearby wetland on Elbe river, which boasted great biodiversity and migratory birds was destroyed. About 140 hectres of wetland were filled in to construct the new factories for Airbus A380 components.
Despite several oppositions by the local community and environmental activists, this expansion was carried out becasue of the size and economic importance of Airbus to the German economy.
The next step in the Airbus A380 is the transportation of the major parts of the aircraft from the five sites of production to the center for assembly.

All logistics are carried out by air, road and water and a very advanced system of information and communication.

Airbus deploys its own airlifter (Beluga) to transport most of the major parts. However, larger parts like the fuselage and wings are too big to be transported via air. So it uses a multimode transportation system, utilizing road, rivers, and seas to transport these parts to the final assembly facility in Toulouse, France.

Since all production sites are in Europe, it is easier as there are less distance and regulatory restrictions. Still, the mere size and value of this aircraft makes logistics very complex.
Final assembly is performed in Toulouse, France for all Airbus A380 Aircrafts.

The process:
1. Assembly
2. Tests before and after engine installation
3. Painting and Cabin Furnishing
4. Flight testing- structural statistics and actual flight
5. Certification

Since certification is a regulatory procedure and A380s serve many countries, Airbus has to achieve both United States' and European Union's avaition regulation's certification requirements.
Risk to Pont de pierre
Delivery to customers (primarily airlines) is done in 5 steps which take a day each:

Ground check
Acceptance flight
Physical rework or provision of solutions for all technical or quality snags open in delivery
Completion of technical acceptance
Transfer of aircraft's title deeds to customer airline
So far, there have been 144 airbus A380 deliveries to various airlines all over the world.

The airlines that are able to afford these $414 million aircrafts have significant advantage over others.
Airbus A380 flies to many destinations across the globe and as more airlines acquire A380, more routes are built.
Current A380 customers are:
Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Air France, Qantas, Korean Air, China Southern Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, British Airways, Asiana Airways, and Qatar Airways.
Airbus A380
Airbus A380 is the world's largest passenger aircraft. With 4 mega engines, 2 decks of seatings, and one deck for cargo, it can carry over 550 people and 260,000 liters of fuel.

It is built by Airbus, a primarily European company, but used by major airlines all over the world.

Below are the steps in A380's commodity chain:
1. Design and Engineering
2. Production of major sections
3. Transportation of major sections
4. Final assembly, tests, and certification
5. Delivery to customers
6. Airlines flying A380s
Works Cited
"How is an aircraft built." Airbus.com. Web.
MegastructuresHD. "Megastructures Airbus A380." Video. YouTube.com. 17 March 2014.
Rodrigo Vidaurre, Sandra Naumann, Ingo Bräuer. "Compensation for the Development of Airbus Facility Case Study Report." envliability.eu. Web. 31 Oct 2008.
The giant on the runway. The Economist. Web. 11 Oct 2007
Jérôme. " Composite Materials in the Airbus A380. iccm-central.org. Web.
"Airbus A380 Long-Range Jetliner". aerospaceweb.org. Web.
"Aircraft Emissions: The sky's the limit." Economist.com. Web. 8 June 2006.
"How is an aircraft built"
"The giant on the runway"
"Composite Materials in the Airbus A380"
"Megastructures Airbus A380"
"Compensation for the Development of Airbus Facility Case Study Report"
"How is an aircraft built"
These production sites recieve thousands of components from over 15,000 suppliers from every continent (except Antarctica). The major materials of which are aluminum, aluminum alloys, and Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics.
Five major contributors of of its componenets are Rolls-Royce, Safran, United Technologies, General Electric, and Goodrich.
Production of various major sections of A380 is divided and distributed to four countries in Europe.

Wales: wings
England: engine
Germany: fuselage and vertical tail section
Spain: horizontal tail section
France: smaller parts and assembly
Airbus A380's parts' large size and multimodal system of transportation means its fuselage has to be shipped along rivers, crossing Pont de pierre bridge in Bordeaux. Pont de pierre was built in 1822 with the orders of Napoleon and has a historic significance and identity for the people of Bordeaux.
As you can see in the picture, this bridge leaves a very short and narrow space for the barge carrying A380's parts to pass. Every time that the barge passes underneath this bridge, it risks damaging this historic structure that gives the people of Bordeaux and France an identity and sense of place.
"Megastructures Airbus A380"
Commodity Chain Project
Environmental impact of flying: Pollution
Since this is the largest passenger aircraft, some of the existing runways are not long enough to accommodate A380s' flying or testing. Lengthening of runways and airports has its effects on the neighboring communities- dislocating, high noise levels, etc are common. The lengthening of the runway in Hamburg for A380's first flight test is a good example of the social impacts of this step. The initial plans of this extension were considerably resisted by the local communities because:
The tarmac would destroy the village orchids
The church near the airport housed a delicate, one-of-a-kind musical instrument made 1688 that could be damaged with the ground vibrations and wake vortices caused by A380s.
"Megastructures Airbus A380"
Although this may seem like a small problem, it goes to show the dynamics that play when the interests of small communities and large corporations conflict.
Nevertheless, the runway was extended.
Resistance against Runway Extensions
Of the 144 Airbus A380s in operation today, 57 are operated by airlines in the Middle East, and order for over 160 has already been placed.
These numbers are largely disproportionate to the rest of the world and hint at a shift in the entire aviation industry.

As countries like China and India grow in economy and more and more people are able to afford flying, Middle Eastern airline companies are able to fulfill the demand by buying state of the art aircrafts and infrastructure; and their proximity to these rising economies is a bonus.
Airbus A380 supplements these rising economies.
As a result, the center of international aviation is shifting from the saturated North American-European market and moving towards Middle East and China.
Rise of the Middle East
Airbus A380 is quite fuel efficient and produces less emissions and noise. But lets consider some numbers:

One A380 produces power equal to 3,500 family cars.
So, about 6 cars per passenger. That's not too bad.

But, in the coming years, there will be 1,500 A380s flying in the air.

Furthermore, most cars are used for about an hour or two each day.
A380s fly internationally, 10 hours or so, everyday.

These numbers add up to a very large amount of carbon dioxide emissions. The consequences on the environment can be seen with greenhouse warming, sea level rising etc.

Despite this, A380 is a step in the right direction because it is more fuel efficient than many other aircraft.
"Aircraft emissions: the sky's the limit"
"The giant on the runway"
Link to the map:
The map below shows where most of the processes in making an Airbus A380 take place.
Please note: The routes and places to where A380s are flown (Step 6) is omitted because they are far too many for the scope of this map.
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