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ADVANCING FOR THE AIRBUS A380

Elevating up to 24.1 meters high, with a wing span of 79.8 meters and an installed thrust of
up to 280,000 lb the double-decker jumbo jet airbus A380 may be the most immense plane
ever to exist thereby posing an upgrading challenge for a majority of airports. Though it may
be currently in the hands of a few airline companies due to its high cost, the airbus’ ability to
hold up a large passenger crew with its vast 72.7 meter length have made it the most sought
out vessel in the commercial aviation industry.

A majority of the airports may be built up to Code E specifications thereby being able
to accommodate various kinds of planes including the airbus A380 predecessor, Boeing
747-400. Such airports have a shoulder width of 10.5 meters on each side of the 23 meter
taxiway thus being able to contain the Boeing 747-400 which is currently in use and was the
largest passenger carrier before the Airbus A380 came into the market.

In order for airports to upgrade, designers have to establish the type of plane meant to use it.
Through this, the plane’s weight, wing span, speed and runway separations are used in order
for a satisfactory design to be met. The key features that a majority of the airports ought
to focus on may be on contact stands, runway shoulders, taxi shoulders, drainage works,
remote stands, aerodrome ground lighting, and the terminal buildings. Moreover, high mast
lighting may be upgraded in order to increase safety due to better visibility together with
passenger boarding bridges.

Pertaining to the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s standards, Code F operations


apply to airports accommodating airplanes with wingspans between 65 meters and 80
meters whereas Code E operations apply to airports handling 45 meter wingspan airplanes.
Thus the A380 which has a wingspan of 79.8 meters makes it lie between Code E and Code F
operations.

With a wing span of 79.8 meters the A380 is 15.2 meters longer than the Boeing 747-400 and
4.8 meters taller in height. Thus, the difference in wingspan may lead airports to re-design
their runways.
Since upgrading to Code F requirements may lead to the need in re-constructing runways
leading to potential delays in passenger flights and increased running costs, airlines and
regulators have come up with ways for airports designed for Code E to hold the A380
successfully. Integrating the A380 into existing airports may, for instance, force airports to
re-design their docking systems failure of which the outer-most engines of the airbus would
hang beyond the runway.

However, the pavement design may not be necessarily changed since the airbus has its
weight evenly distributed to its 20 landing gear wheels generating a smaller amount of
weight per wheel as compared to the Boeing 747-400. Consequently, the better option
might be widening runway shoulders by 6.25 meters on each side of the runway and also
widening the taxiway shoulders by 7.5 meters on each side of the taxiway. In addition, the
shoulders may be either paved or grass surfaced stabilised with netting thereby preventing
foreign objects like stones from entering the airplane’s engines. Also, runway shoulders
might be used by emergency vehicles such as ambulances in case of emergencies.
Concerning the runway length, the same length used for Code E aircrafts may still be
adequate. In fact, the airbus A380 requires shorter length than the Boeing 747-400 due to
its larger wingspan occupying a larger area thereby causing a greater lift when taking off and
landing.

For drainage works, longer culverts may be required to replace the previous short
ones due to shoulder widening done on the runways. Therefore, the culverts may prevent
pavement destruction of the runway by providing a passage of water to flow beneath the
runway.

Also, aerodrome ground lighting affected by shoulder widening may need to be changed so
as to provide space for the airbus wings and avoid damage from the A380’s engine. However,
the signage and markings on the runway may not be necessarily changed.

Furthermore, the need for increasing the number of aircraft stands might be a vital issue
especially in reducing traffic of both passengers and airplanes thereby aiding in reducing
delays, miscommunication and even accidents. Since the airbus has a capacity of carrying
approximately 800 passengers, passenger traffic may need more than one stand thus
increasing the percentage of aerobridge stands required. Besides, in order to reduce the
time taken for embarking and disembarking of passengers from the large airbus A380, more
aerobridge arms may be required. Factors such as passenger walking distance from gate to
terminal, time wasted during embarking and disembarking should also be considered in order
for better efficiency when planning for takeoff and landing of other airplanes.

Advancing the airports for the Airbus A380 may also lead airports in improving their
emergency response especially in case of disasters. Thus, rescue and fire equipment ought to
be upgraded to International Civil Aviation Organisation’s standards for Code F airplanes.

Parking aprons may need to be enlarged in order to house the A380. These aprons might also
be used to park baggage containers and other handling equipment. Increasing the number
of transit lounges both in number and in size may be crucial to passengers especially during
transit flights due to their high number. Information Technology may be used to monitor
flights, ventilation, security and the number of passengers in the airport thus avoiding
congestion which might have inconvenienced passengers.

The long wingspans of the airbus may lead to wave vortex a state whereby turbulent winds
develop on the wing’s tips and may cause airplanes especially small aircrafts to roll and yaw.
Though the airbus has a low percentage of wake turbulence, detrimental effects may be
avoided by spacing the airplanes 7.4 kilometers apart.
In order to boost passenger efficiency especially in the luggage handling department
more check-in points may be created leading to additional security systems such as X-ray
equipment, security personnel and metal detectors. Furthermore, the number and length of
conveyor belts may be increased in order to increase the number of luggage per meter when
reclaiming one’s luggage thereby reducing delays, luggage loss and confusion.

Before the airbus came into existence, the Boeing had become a favorite for many airlines
due to its advanced aerofoil technology, environment friendly engine and its passenger
capacity. However, the airbus may be increasingly becoming popular especially due its
numerous advantages.

To begin with, due to increasing demand in fuel, passengers, environment friendly airplanes
and limitations in airport construction, the airbus might have offered a better solution.
Through its 20% fuel consumption some airline companies have saved up and have placed
orders to have it custom built. Also, its ability to occupy twice as many passengers as the
Boeing especially due to it being a double-decker jumbo jet may have lead to its high
demand.

In contrast, the airbus may have a few disadvantages. Wave vortex, as commonly referred
to in scientific circles may result in small percentages during take-off and landing leading
to turbulent waves at the tips of the airplane’s wings. However, it may be reduced by an
airplane separation distance of 7.4 kilometers.

In conclusion, although advancing for the A380 may be a challenge to some airports, the
A380 may be the solution to sustainable air transport and sets the benchmark for
revolutionising the aviation industry.

Reference List

· Morgan Stanley & Co. International Limited, 2006. The A380 Debate. [Online]
Morgan Stanley & Co. International Limited. Available at: www.leeham.net/
filelib/A380DEBATEFINAL.pdf [Accessed 14 November 2009]

· Phillips, T.J., 2005. International Forum on Airport Emergency and


Risk Management. [Online] Air Line Pilots Association, International
Available at: www.nfpa.org/assets/files/PDF/Aviation.pdf [Accessed
14 November 2009]

· Legarreta, G., 2007. Engineering Brief No. 63B: Taxiways for


Airbus A380 Taxiing Operations. [Online] Federal Aviation
Administration. Available at: www.faa.gov/
airports/engineering/engineering_briefs/media/EB_63b.pdf [Accessed
16 November 2009]

· Flight International, 2005. A380: Changing the Game. [Online]


Reeds Business Information Ltd. Available at:
http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~lwhite/f&m.assignments.2008/
f&m.presentationmaterials/Superjumbo/
A%20FLIGHT%20GROUP%20SPECIAL%20REPORT,.pdf [Accessed 16
November 2009]

· International Civil Aviation Organisation, 2007. AIRBUS A380


WAKE VORTEX - REVISED GUIDANCE MATERIAL. [Online] Bangkok:
Asia and Pacific Office. Available at: www.icao.int/icao/en/ro/apac/
2007/FIT_SEA5/ip05.pdf [Accessed 17 November 2009]

www.caa.govt.nz/safety_info/gaps/wake_turbulence.pdf [Accessed 18
November 2009]www.caa.govt.nz/safety_info/gaps/wake_turbulence.pdf
[Accessed 18 November 2009]

· International Civil Aviation Organisation, 2006. PREPARING


CHANGI AIRPORT FOR AIRBUS A380 OPERATIONS. [Online]
Singapore: International Civil Aviation Organisation. Available at:
www.icao.int/icao/en/assembl/a35/wp/wp100_en.pdf [Accessed 18
November 2009]

· Aeronautical Information Services, 2005. UPGRADING OF KL INTERNATIONAL


AIRPORT
FOR NEW LARGE AIRCRAFT (A380) OPERATIONS. [Online] Kuala
Lumpur: Aeronautical Information Services. Available at:
aip.dca.gov.my/
.../Upgrading%20Of%20KL%20International%20Airport%20New%20...
[Accessed 19 November 2009]

· Boeing, 2008. Airport Compatibility. [Online] Seattle: Boeing.


Available at: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/
7478brochure.pdf
[Accessed 19 November 2009]

· Temoinages, 2009. Airbus A380 landing at Reunion Island. [Online]


Reunion Island: Temoinages. Available at:
www.temoignages.re/airbus-a380-landing-at-reunion,40039.html
[Accessed 19 November 2009]

· British Broadcasting Corporation, 2006. Airbus A380. [Online]


British Broadcasting Corporation. Available at: news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/
business/4993030.stm [Accessed 19 November 2009]
http://www.great-engineering.com/kansai-airport-megastructures

Mark Ken- 003577 1

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