Big Incidents and the Decline of the Airbus-380
The double-deck Airbus A380 is the largest commercial aircraft flying today, with two interior levels, a wide body and four engines. The A380 is a modern icon that has flown over 500,000 revenue flights carrying over 190 million passengers. This includes more than 300 commercial flights per day, which take off or land around the world every two minutes according to Airbus’s report. Hence, no doubt to say that flying with the A380 is the passenger’s favourite as the world’s most comfortable, smooth and quiet aircraft, from the first class to economy.
However, recent incidents involving in the A380 superjumbo have raised considerable concern to its once-glittering future. An Air France Airbus A380-800 flying from Paris to Los Angeles on 30 September 2017 with more than 500 people on board made an emergency landing in Goose Bay, Canada after serious damage to one of the four engines. Luckily, flight and cabin crew handled the serious incident perfectly, and all passengers were evacuated with no injuries.
A Qantas A380 was involved in a similar incident in November 2010 flying from Singapore to Sydney, when it was forced to make an emergency landing in Singapore due to one of the plane's four Rolls-Royce engines exploding within the first 10-15 minutes of takeoff. In May of this year, there was another incident of a Qantas A380 flying from Los Angeles to Melbourne which was forced to turn back two hours into the flight due to operational reasons, subsequently added that one of the four engines lost power and was shut down.
The aircraft then returned to Los Angeles for a safe landing about 4 hours and 15 minutes after departure. Steve Purvinas, secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association said: “We cannot continue to gamble with people's lives and allow those aircraft to fly around and hope that they make it until their four-yearly inspection”.
There were many noticeable incidents of Airbus A380 involving in different airlines since launching in 2007, with other big names such as Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, China Southern, Thai Airways and more.
Subsequently, after a series of ups and downs, Airbus announced that it was cutting the number of A380 to be produced in future. Deliveries of the aircraft will be reduced to just eight in 2019. In addition, a failure to get the deal done with its leading A380 customer, Emirates, could impact output declining to a 0.7-a-month equivalent rate. Meanwhile, the A380’s direct rival, Boeing’s 747-8, appears to be following a similar way, last year it cut production of the model by half.
A report said A380 has not suffered any fatality since its first flight 12 years ago, and all incidents involving engine malfunctions have landed safely. Nevertheless, after a series of remarkable problems, the airplane’s safety will be a question mark for not only passengers, and existing airlines operating A380, but also potential customers would consider ordering this superjumbo.