The latest superjumbo A380 leaves a message of love in the sky

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(CNN) – The Airbus A380 superjumbo holds a special place in the hearts of many aviation enthusiasts, and when the last of its kind made its final test flight, it returned that love with a message to heaven.

The world’s largest passenger plane made its last pre-delivery flight on December 13 from the Airbus facility at Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport for a tour of the North. east of Germany.

The pilots made a very special route, marking the outline of a choir, which was picked up by the FlightRadar24 flight tracking service.

The boat, registered as MSN 272, has been in Hamburg since March, which is its base for the final tests, as well as for the cabin equipment and the livery painting.

It is scheduled to be delivered this month to Emirates, the plane’s largest customer.

Passengers love the A380, but the airlines have given up. Your window to fly in one is closing now that many are stored.

The Airbus A380 was developed at a cost of $ 25 billion and, with a capacity of up to 853 passengers, is the largest mass-produced civilian aircraft in history.

The first delivery of the superjumbo was to Singapore Airlines in 2007, and since then about 250 A380s have left the line in Toulouse.

It’s been almost three years since Airbus announced it would stop making the plane.

“It’s a painful decision,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders in February 2019. “We’ve put a lot of effort, a lot of resources and a lot of sweat into this plane.”

Airbus overestimated the airlines’ appetite for superjumbo. At the time of the 2019 announcement, it had only delivered 234 of the boat, less than half of the 600 it had predicted when the two-story one was introduced.

Airline interest had shifted to lighter, more fuel-efficient vessels, and the pandemic further accelerated the disappearance of aircraft.

Airlines such as Lufthansa, Qantas and Air France left their superjumbo on the ground last year, at a time when the sharp drop in demand for air travel meant that many planes were flying almost empty.
However, as aviation has begun its slow recovery, airlines such as Singapore Airlines and British Airways have returned their superjumbos to service, so the A380s will be in our skies for a while longer.

Assembling an A380 is a gigantic task, with 1,500 companies involved in the manufacture of all individual parts, from rivets to screws, to seats and engines. Four million individual pieces were to be flown, driven and shipped from 30 different countries.

The last convoy to the final assembly line (FAL) took place in February 2020, with hundreds of people flocking to the French village of Levignac to see the wings, sections of the fuselage and the rear horizontal plane transported by truck, just a month before the pandemic got too much. impossible meetings.

The fuselage sections came from Hamburg, Germany, and Saint-Nazaire, France; the horizontal back plane was made in Cadiz, Spain; and the vertical caudal fin was also made in Hamburg.

Howard Slutsken contributed to this report.

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