The worlds’s largest passenger airplane is losing its luster. Airlines like Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and Malaysia Airlines are all making plans to reduce the amount of service they fly on the Airbus A380 jumbo-jet. Airbus, for its part, has cut production by 55%.
The plane is currently flown by 13 airlines out of 57 airports. The routes average more than 4000 miles (6500 km—London to Miami, for example).
There are shorter routes, like Emirate’s 45 minute hop from Dubai to Kuwait City and China Southern’s three-hour 1,000-mile trip between Chengdu and Beijing.
A decline of service on the A380 isn’t just a bummer for traveling fans, it could inconvenience airports too. Upgrades were needed to be made all over the surface and buildings of airports to accommodate the larger and heavier plane. Without service from the A380 (or Boeing’s similarly declining 747) those improvements will sit idle.
Stuffed full of economy seats, the plane can seat well over 800 passengers, though none use that configuration. Most airlines use the extra space on the two-level plane for large areas of plush business and first class seating. (Some have even installed showers and in-air cocktail lounges).