Airplanes have undergone a lot of changes since they were first invented just over 100 years ago. They have gone from only being capable of holding one or two people to transporting hundreds of passengers across the world in less than a day. While the technology to make massive airplanes is freely available, they are often too big to justify the operating costs. The airline industry may be shifting to smaller cost-effective airplanes, but there are still a few massive jets in the air. These are four of the largest airplanes still being used on a regular basis.
Antonov An-225 Mirya
The Antonov An-225 Mirya had its first flight in 1988, and it is still the largest airplane in use today. The 275-foot plane was originally created by the Soviet Union to aid in their military operations. It is now used by a Ukrainian cargo airliner to haul large items. This massive cargo jet is able to haul more than 500,000 pounds of goods at one time.
The Airbus A380-800 is the largest passenger airplane in existence. The large jet is just over 238 feet long, and it was introduced to the world in 2007. The Airbus A380-800 is currently only regularly used by Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways. While it can hold up to 853 passengers at one time, the airlines limit its capacity at 550 passengers to improve comfort.
The Airbus A300-600ST is a large 184-foot cargo jet that had its first flight in 1994. The plane is routinely called “The Beluga” due to its resemblance to the whale. The Airbus Beluga can haul just over 103,000 pounds on a single flight. Only a total of five of these airplanes were built, but they are all still in use today. These five planes will be decommissioned in 2020 when a newer version is introduced.
The newest version of the Boeing 747 is one of the largest passenger planes in the world. The 250-foot jet is used by Lufthansa and Korean Air. These two airlines use the plane to transport 467 passengers in three different class sections. The Boeing 747-8 can also be used as a cargo plane to haul up to 303,700 pounds.