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Highlights

Airbus S.A.S (Airbus), a European aircraft manufacturer, introduced a new aircraft, the A380 that will be the largest passenger aircraft in the world with expected delivery to its first customers in late 2006. The A380 has a double deck and is expected to seat between 555 and 853 passengers. The A380 is much larger than its competitors with a wingspan of 262 feet, a tail fin about 80 feet high, and a maximum takeoff weight of over 1.2 million pounds. A freight version of the A380 is scheduled for delivery in 2008. Because of the size of the A380, U.S. airports have to make changes to accommodate the aircraft. This may include widening runways and taxiways, or restructuring gate areas to accommodate the additional passengers. This report examines (1) the costs and nature of the changes U.S. airports are making to their infrastructure to accommodate the A380, (2) the funding sources being used to finance these changes, and (3) the major factors influencing the changes being made. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Airbus provided technical comments on the report. Airbus also commented on the 18 airports' cost estimates of the changes being made for the A380 and estimated $720 million for these changes. Based on the costs airports reported initially and our subsequent reconfirmation efforts, we did not change the cost estimates provided by the airports.

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