The Airbus A380 is a marvel of engineering. With a wide-body double-decker design, it can take as many as 600 people (800 if there were no first class) into the sky at the same time. But while the largest passenger jet in existence is definitely impressive, it was also built with an outdated idea of air travel in mind. The future is small.
As Wendover Productions explains in a great video on the economy of air travel, the gigantic A380 was built with the “hub and spoke” model of air travel in mind, where airlines connect smaller airports to bigger hubs that all the long, high-demand flights leave from. It seems like it would cut costs but in actuality, flying fewer, bigger planes minimizes just a handful of expenses while actually increasing the rest.
The solution to that problem comes in the form of new planes like Boeings 787 and 737 MAX, which are smaller, but much more efficient with particularly long range. This allows them to service long, low-demand routes directly and cheaply by taking advantage of the low fees charged by smaller airports.
Given that demand for the A380 is falling, while demand for smaller, more efficient planes like the 787 is through the roof, you can see the shape of the world—as connected by airports—is starting to change. And for the better.