British Airways was the first UK airline to take delivery of Boeing’s new double-decker A380 aircraft at Heathrow Airport on Thursday.
The A380 is said to be the world’s largest commercial jet and its arrival at Heathrow follows the delivery last week of the first of two Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s that British Airways has on order. The company said that it is the first airline in Europe to operate both the A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. A total of 12 A380s are on order for delivery to British Airways by 2016, with three of the aircraft being delivered this year and another five expected to arrive in 2014.
British Airways also announced that the very first long-haul flight on the A380 to Los Angeles will take off on 24 September 2013, priced from £621 for return tickets, while the first flight to Hong Kong will be on October 22 with return ticket prices from £688.
The aircraft will seat 469 passengers across four cabins: First class at the front of the main deck, with 14 seats and 30% more personal space, along with 60% more stowage space; Club World (business class) with 44 seats on the main deck and 53 seats on the upper deck; World Traveller Plus (premier economy) on the upper deck will have 55 seats; and World Traveller (economy) seats are on both the main and upper deck.
New fuel efficiency features on the A380 enable much quieter take-offs and landings, in line with Heathrow’s moves to encourage new, quieter aircraft by charging lower landing fees and developing infrastructure such as stands and taxiways to accommodate larger aircraft. The A380 is also 16% more fuel efficient than a Boeing 747.
Keith Williams, British Airways’ CEO, commented: “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.”