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Last Updated: Tuesday January 18 2005 11:03 GMT

Giant passenger plane is unveiled

The Airbus A380 is the world's biggest passenger plane
The world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, has been shown off at a special ceremony in France.

People won't be able fly in it until 2006, but when they do it will carry more of them than a Boeing 747.

At the moment that's the biggest passenger plane in the skies, but the A380 - which cost around 6bn to develop and build - will overtake it.

Only the Russian Antonov An-225 transport plane is bigger than the A380 but that does not carry passengers.

Just how big is it?
There should be lots of room inside the plane
The A380 is the length of eight London buses
70 cars could be parked on its wings
It is 15m wider, 4m taller and 2m longer than a 747
If every seat on board was economy class there would be room for 853 passengers. A 747 has room for 568.
The plane has been designed and built in a number of European countries, with the wings, which measure almost 80m from tip to tip, built in Wales.

The engines on the plane have to be very powerful to get it off the ground.

The amount of power they generate is same as 3,500 car engines.

To make back the money the plane cost to build airbus would need to sell 250 of the giant aircraft - so far they've got orders for 129.

Comparison of Boeing 747 and Airbus A380
Typical 416 (max 524)
Cruising speed:
0.855 Mach (564.3mph)
Flight range:

13,450km (8358 miles)
Typical 555 (max 840)
Cruising speed:
0.85 Mach (561mph)
Flight range:

15,000km (9321 miles)

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