The Making of Airbus A380: A Triumph of Science and Engineering

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Case Details:

Case Code : OPER056
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 1999-2006
Organization : Airbus, Boeing
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : France, Germany, Spain
Industry : Aircraft Manufacturing

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Final Assembly

Though the parts of the A380 were manufactured at various sites across Europe the final assembly was done at Toulouse. (Refer to Exhibit V for the manufacturing of A380 at various locations). The floor panels for the upper, main and lower decks of the forward fuselage section were manufactured in Elbe, Dresden.

The Airbus plant in Bremen assembled the A380 landing flaps, which generated and controlled the lift of the wings. The front and rear sections of the fuselage were made in Hamburg, Germany. Also at Hamburg, the rear part of the forward fuselage and the aft fuselage were assembled with components received from Nordenham...

The Project Cost

At the official start of the A380 project in December 2000, Airbus projected a total development cost of US$ 10.7 billion. Of this, US$ 7.4 billion (69%) was earmarked for aircraft development and US$ 3.3 billion (31%) for non-recurring investment. Airbus invested US$ 5.1 billion of its own funds while US$ 3.1 billion was shared by its partners. The remaining US$ 2.5 billion was financed by European government loans, which were repayable...

The Road Ahead

The deliveries of the A380 did not start by the end of 2005 as planned. According to Gustav Humbert, CEO of Airbus, the three main causes for the delay were problems with the wiring for passenger entertainment systems, complexities in designing different cabin interiors for each airline, and weight related issues. To compound these problems, there was a wing fracture during the ground test on February 14, 2006. Airbus spokeswoman, Barbara Kracht, said, "The wings of the 555-seater may require refinements at certain points as a result of the fracture, which happened during ground testing in Toulouse. It should have no impact on the certification and delivery."...


Exhibit I: Specifications of A380-800
Exhibit II: A380 Orders till March 2006
Exhibit III: Comparison between Airbus A380 and Boeing 747
Exhibit IV: Picture Delineating the Differences between A380 and B747
Exhibit V: Manufacturing of A380 at Various Places
Exhibit VI: Different Models of A380


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