When Airbus started delivering the A380 a decade ago, after spending $25 billion to develop it, the company based near Toulouse, France, saw the plane as the solution to airport congestion and to increased demand for air travel. Only so many planes can land at an airport in any given day, so Airbus reasoned that planes carrying more people would allow airports to absorb more passengers.
The A380 can carry more than 500 passengers while also offering amenities like showers, first-class suites and a bar.
But the airline industry responded by increasing traffic to smaller airports, a change that favored Boeing and its 787 Dreamliner, a midsize, wide-bodied plane that can carry a maximum of 330 passengers. The Dreamliner has two engines, making it much less expensive to maintain than the four-engine A380.