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Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 (9M-MNE) | by Can Pac Swire
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Malaysia Airlines Airbus A380 (9M-MNE)

Airbus Industries officially launched the A380 program in 1990 as a double-deck widebody superjumbo jet to challenge the dominance of the Boeing 747 the original Jumbo jet. The A380 first entered commercial service in 2007.

 

However, the massive long-range passenger airliner proves too big for most airlines to operate profitably, and sales never took off (pun fully intended : ) Just 300 or so were ordered and there are only 15 airlines operating the A380. The airline with the largest A380 fleet is Emirates (United Arab Emirates), with over 100 examples in operations. Interestingly Southeast Asia's Big 3 -- Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Thai Airways all use the A380. In Europe, Lufthansa, Air France and British Airways are the only operators. Airbus didn't make any sales of the A380 in the United States. Only three were sold to Japan (to All Nippon Airways), and China Southern is the only Chinese carrier with the A380.

 

The list of airlines which Airbus had hoped to sell the A380 to but didn't is more conspicuous than the list of operators. The following airlines all decided against buying the Airbus superjumbo after careful analysis, even though they run many high-density long-haul routes: Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Japan Air Lines, China Air Lines (Taiwan), Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong), Air India, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Iberia (Spain), Delta Airlines (USA), United Air Lines (USA) and American Airlines.

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Taken on April 17, 2016