Airbus A-380 – The Largest Plane in the World

[Travel ★★★]


(P1) The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger plane that has ever been built. It can carry more passengers and cargo than any other airplane and its designers say that it uses less fuel and make less noise.

(P2) The A 380 is a giant in the skies. Its wings span about 80 meters and it has a length of 73 meters. When filled with passengers the A 380 weighs over 500 000 kg. It has three decks – two passenger decks and one for cargo. Up to 840 passengers can fly on the plane if all the seats are built in it.

(P3) Up to now, the biggest plane was the Boeing 747, which could carry 416 passengers. Designers have used special materials to keep the plane light. Plane makers say that the engines are very low in noise – they produce about half the sound of other engines.

(P4) The A 380 can fly about 13,000 km non-stop. The plane can reach destinations on other continents without refueling.

(P5) The A 380 is so big that putting it together causes some problems. It is not built in one place. The parts of the plane come from all over Europe and are put together at the Airbus headquarters in southern France.

(P6) In the early 1990’s Airbus started to design a plane that could compete with Boeing’s 747. In 2000, the first airlines ordered the new plane and in January 2005, the first Airbus A 380 was finished. The new Airbus made its first commercial flight with Singapore Airlines. It flew from Singapore to Sydney on 25 October 2007. Over 6000 people worked on the project and up to now 14 airlines have already ordered the A 380.

(P7) There are, however, problems such a big plane may cause. Are airports big enough for the plane to take off and land or can airlines sell enough tickets to fill the plane?

(P8) Testing has shown that the A 380 does not need longer runways. But airports may have problems getting people on and off the huge planes. Waiting lines may be very long and passengers could wait for their baggage for some time.

(P9) Airbus Industries says the A 380 will focus on big airports like London, New York or Hong Kong where many people travel to the same city.

WORDS: 381


VOCABULARY: cargo, designers, span, refueling, commercial, runways, baggage


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Would you fly in this huge airplane? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think planes will be built even bigger in the future? Why or why not?
  4. Do you have the patience to wait in long lines? Why or why not
  5. Have you ever flew in 1st class? If not, would you like to and why? If yes, describe the experience.


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • Giant in the skies (P2)
  • up to now (P3)
  • Put together (P5)
  • Fill the plane (P7)

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Image source: by Florian Lindner

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