I moved to France from Japan in 2003, just in time to start getting access to photograph Airbus's latest project, the giant A380 double decker aircraft. On my first trip down to Toulouse to see the first plane under final assembly, Airbus PR folks picked me up at the local train station, drove me to an outer fence and pointed to the airplane in a hanger about 200 meters away with the hanger doors open. Needless to say, I wasn't happy and refused to shoot the plane from that spot. At that point phone calls were made, and the head of the program came out to meet us and decided to give me an exclusive tour of the plane building built, including getting up above the plane in a cherry picker. Sometimes its good to hold your ground, albeit politely!
by Stuart Isett
So today I'm sad to hear the A380 program is being closed in 2021. Despite the amazing access I got in Toulouse and also at Airbus's factory in St. Nazaire in 2003, I have never actually flown in one! Mainly because I don't travel overseas as much and few airlines fly them to the US. Oh well, the aircraft they have built should get at least another 20 years of service, so hopefully, some day, I'll fly one.