On July 4, British Airways became the first UK carrier to take delivery of an Airbus A380 ‘Super-jumbo;’ when ‘X-ray-Lima-Alpha touched down at Heathrow at about 10:25am.
The double-decker airliner is the world’s largest commercial airliner. British Airways is also the first airline in Europe to operate both the A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the first two of which landed at Heathrow last week.
The airline announced today that the very first long-haul flight on the A380 to Los Angeles will be on September 24, 2013, with prices starting from £621 return, and the first to Hong Kong will be on October 22 with prices from £688 return.
Keith Williams, British Airways’ CEO, said: “We are delighted to welcome the first of our A380s to the fleet, joining our new 787s.
“These aircraft are the start of a new era for British Airways. Over the next 15 months, we will take delivery of new aircraft at the rate of one a fortnight as we put ourselves at the forefront of modern aviation.
“The A380 is a fantastic aircraft and an excellent showpiece for British engineering. Our customers are going to love the space, light and comfort on board.”
British Airways’ A380s will accommodate 469 customers across four cabins. Customers in First will be seated at the front of the main deck. The cabin will offer 14 seats and is evolved from the current First class with 30% more personal space and 60% more personal stowage.
Club World (business class) customers can choose from 44 seats on the main deck, or 53 seats on the upper deck. These upper deck seats will feature a new 2:3:2 configuration across the cabin. The 55 World Traveller Plus (premier economy) seats will be located on the upper deck while World Traveller (economy) customers can choose seats on both the main and upper deck. BA says customers travelling in both World Traveller and World Traveller Plus will be able to enjoy the new cabins and seats that have proved “so popular” on its 777-300ER fleet.
The aircraft’s design makes significantly quieter during take-off and landing and 16% more fuel efficient than a Boeing 747. British Airways has ordered 12 A380s for delivery by 2016. Three will arrive this year followed by a further five in 2014.
Both aircraft types will now begin a complex ‘entry into service’ programme, which will see pilot and cabin crew training taking place at Manston Airport in Kent, customer service trials at Heathrow and short-haul flying for both aircraft, including flights within the UK.