January 19, 2012 / 2:47 PM / 8 years ago

Factbox: The Airbus A380 double-decker

(Reuters) - Airbus EAD.PA said on Thursday it had discovered more cracks in the wings of A380 superjumbo aircraft but insisted the world’s largest jetliner remained safe to fly.

Here are some key facts on the European airliner.

* The airplane cost 12 billion euros ($17 billion) to develop. Development was delayed by over two years because of industrial problems that caused a rift in Franco-German relations and severely hit parent EADS’s share price in 2006.

* The A380 double-decker is the length of eight buses and has enough room on its wings to park 70 cars.

— Wing span 79.8m (261ft 10in), length 72,75m (238ft 8in). Height 24,08 m (79ft)

* The A380 can seat 525 people in normal three-class layout and up to 853 people in all-economy layout.

* The plane is 15 meters wider, four meters taller, two meters longer and 118 tonnes heavier than the Boeing 747-400, which had reigned as the largest airliner for four decades.

* Cocktail bars, casinos, showers, libraries and sleeping quarters for staff were among features initially touted as a possible use of space, though high fuel prices have encouraged some airlines to buy it as a no-frills jet seating over 800.

* At take-off the A380’s four Rolls-Royce (RR.L) Engine Alliance engines generate as much thrust as 3,500 cars. Engine Alliance is owned by GE (GE.N) and Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N).

* The A380 is the largest passenger jet and the second biggest plane ever built, topped only by the six-engine Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo plane, of which only two have been built.

* Howard Hughes’s ill-fated Spruce Goose flying boat, which flew once in 1947 and was designed to carry 750 troops, had a wider wingspan to incorporate its eight engines but was shorter than the A380.

RECENT INCIDENTS:

January 2012 - WERE Cracks discovered on the wing ribs of several A380s, but Airbus says they pose no threat to safety.

November 2011 - A London-bound Qantas A380 was forced to divert to Dubai after a leak in the pipes surrounding an engine.

Jun1 2011 - A test plane clipped the corner of a building, tearing off the wingtip, on the eve of the Paris air show.

April 2012 - The wing of an Air France A380 collided on the ground with a smaller Bombardier CRJ regional jet, which spun in a quarter turn at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport.

Nov 2010 - A Qantas A380 suffered a mid-air engine blowout shortly after leaving Singapore for Sydney. The plane returned to Singapore and landed safely. The Rolls-Royce engine incident prompted the Australian airline to ground its entire fleet of Airbus superjumbos for nearly a month.

ORDERS/DELIVERIES:

2012 - Airbus says it will deliver at least 30 A380 superjumbos and sell around the same number in 2012 after delivering 26 in 2011, a year in which it met its production target for the first time.

— The aircraft entered service with Singapore Airlines in Dec 2007 followed by Dubai’s Emirates.

— The overall number of A380s sold has risen to 253 from 19 customers as of December 2011 — 68 have been delivered.

Current operators: Singapore Airines, Emirates, Qantas, Lufthansa, Air France, Korean Air, China Southern.

— Catalogue price: $389.9 million (January 2012).

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