Posts Tagged 'A380'

First China Southern Airbus A380

SkyTeam member China Southern Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A380 superjumbo in Tolouse, France in mid-October – adding it to service just four days later – becoming the seventh airlines in the world (and the third in SkyTeam) to operate the largest bird in the skies today. China Southern is the first operator of the A380 in the world, that deploys it on domestic routes.

The first Chinese owned double-decker airplane has 508 seats, that puts it in the middle of the field of airlines operating the super-jumbo. Interestingly, Korean Air has “only” 407 – the difference of 101 seats is about a regional jet’s capacity (!) – while Air France has 538 seats on the same size aircraft. The 58th A380 delivered by Airbus is the first to go to China, to the largest Asian airlines company. China Southern operates the largest Airbus flee in Asia with almost 200 European made planes as part of a fleet with a total of 422 aircraft, and has 4 more A380’s on order.

The world’s largest passenger jetliner at China Southern has 8 fully lie-flat reclining seats in “Platinum” suites (First Class), 70 in Business (1-2-1 layout) and 428 seats in Economy (3-4-3 layout). Passengers’ well–being will be enhanced through the onboard innovative mood lighting system including several different illumination scenarios to create a relaxing atmosphere and environment. The state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system makes it easy for passengers to select from a wide variety of audio and video programs and make their long-haul A380 trip something to remember. The cabin also offers seats and lavatories that are easily accessible to disabled passengers. The airplane is powered by 4 Rolls-Royce Trent-900 engines.

We are proud to become the first A380 operator in China,” said CZ chairman Si Xianmin. “The introduction of the A380 in our fleet is a very important step for the development of China Southern. The economics offered by the A380 will undoubtedly improve our competitiveness on international routes and is the perfect asset to make China Southern Airlines achieve its goal of becoming a leading global carrier,” he said.

The aircraft type was first operated on the Beijing-Guangzhou route between 18-26 October, and on the Beijing-Shanghai Hongqiao route, between 27-29 October. China Southern plans to start using the A380 on international service as well, the first such route being the Guangzhou-Paris route. The launch date for this service has not yet been unveiled. The other existing A380 operators – Singapore Airlines, EmiratesQantas AirwaysAir FranceLufthansa, and Korean Air – only deploy the aircraft on international services. For 2012, A380 deliveries to Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways are on the list.

Four years of operation show that airlines who fly the A380 increase capacity, gain market share and improve load factors – with an A380 now taking off or landing every 15 minutes,” explained Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders at the hand-over ceremony in Tolouse. To date, A380s have flown more than 350,000 hours and carried over 16 million passengers, while serving 25 major cities worldwide, including flights that link the Middle East and Europe to Beijing and Shanghai in China. Guangzhou will be a new A380 destination with the China Southern’s domestic service, though.

by balint01

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First Korean Air Airbus A380

SkyTeam member Korean Air took delivery of its first Airbus A380 superjumbo in Tolouse, France a few days ago, becoming the sixth airlines in the world to operate the largest bird in the skies today. Classified on the ceremony as a “milestone” for the airline, the spacious Korean plane has the least seats of any A380 delivered so far.

The double-decker has “only” 407 seats on board, with 12 First (Kosmo) Class suites on the lower deck, followed by 301 Economy seats, with all 94 Business (Prestige) Class on the upper deck – marking the first ever full business class upper deck on any Airbus A380’s currently in operation. Besides all the seats and suites, the Korean Air A380 features two common areas: a lounge area at the back of the plane available for Premium passengers with sofa-style seating and a stand-up bar, and the world’s first onboard duty-free showcase shop. Passengers can browse, for example, samples of make-up, jewellery, sunglasses and cameras in this specially built area at the rear of the lower deck, before ordering the product(s) to take home. Some may question the choice of removing economy seats in favour of a shop, but theory suggests that there is more money to be made from duty-free sales than one might expect.

Tom Enders, Airbus’ CEO, at the handover of the superjumbo also used the term “milestone” to describe the significance of the event. “[It] marks a new milestone in the relationship between Korean Air and Airbus”, he said, a relationship that started nearly 40 years ago as Korean Air was the first airline outside Europe to order an Airbus aircraft – an A300 in 1974.

Korean Air’s A380  is powered by the Engine Alliance GP 7200 engine, which the engine manufacturer claims is the most fuel efficient option for the A380. Three of the existing A380 fleets (Singapore  AirlinesQantas and Lufthansa) instead have Rolls Royce’s Trent 900 engines, while two (Emirates and Air France) use the GP 7200’s. Of the 234 A380s currently on order, 124 will have a GP7200 engine, 96 will have the RR T900, and 14 have not yet been decided on.

The maiden voyage for Korean Air’s new aircraft will be from its Seoul hub to Tokyo Narita via Hong Kong. Korean Air will take delivery of four more A380 aircraft before the end of 2011, plus a further five by the end of 2014, bringing the total to ten. The A380 will be used on flights to Bangkok from July, followed by non-stop flights to New York in August and Los Angeles in October.

The next airlines in the queue to receive their first A380 is China Southern Airlines in the second half 2011. Next year, A380 deliveries to Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways are on the list.

As of April 15, 2011, the worldwide A380 fleet had operated 270,000 flight hours on 30,000 revenue flights. Currently, there are 48 A380s in service and 234 firm orders from 17 customers.

by balint01

Korean Asiana Orders 6 Airbus A380’s

Seoul-based Star Alliance member Asiana Airlines placed an order for six Airbus A380 superjumbos, with deliveries starting in 2014.

Airbus A380 in Asiana colors

Asiana has not yet decided about the configuration of the cabins, but announced that it will have three classes. In a statement, Asiana said its cabin specifications to be determined by year end will be “state-of-the-art” offering “distinct, high-end service.” The order is valued at around $1.8 billion based on list prices and complements another earlier Airbus order, which is for 30 A350’s.

It plans to operate the A380 aircraft, two of which will arrive in 2014, two in 2015 and two in 2017, to the US and/or Europe. “Asiana’s decision to acquire the A380 was based on the increase in the number of [free trade agreements] in which Korea is engaged and the recent addition of Korea to the US Visa Waiver Program,” President and CEO Young-Doo Yoon said. “Due to favorable factors like these, forecasts indicate a steady and stable 5% yearly increase of passengers to Korea and the Asia/Pacific region.” He added that “the significantly reduced operating costs and fuel efficiencies afforded by the aircraft will enable us to enhance our productivity and reduce our carbon footprint.

Airbus has received 240 firm orders for the aircraft from 18 customers (see earlier post about the continent and airline breakdown).

by balint01

Emirates Orders 32 More Airbus A380’s

Dubai based Emirates has placed a firm order for 32 Airbus A380 super-jumbos – the largest single order for the type. With the already ordered 58, the Middle-Eastern airline will operate a fleet of 80 (!) Double-Deckers!

This latest order of 32 A380’s is a major milestone, for several reasons. This is the single biggest order for the aircraft type to date, valued at USD 11.5 billion (at list prices). This is the first time that an airline already operating the type ordered additional pieces – which is a real proof that the plane is fulfilling it’s promises in operations. And last but not least, it confirms that Emirates thinks about Dubai as a major worldwide Air Travel Hub even more seriously than earlier.

The order agreement was signed in a ceremony yesterday at the Berlin Air Show, in front of a very prestigious audience: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Emirates Chairman and CEO Ahmed bin SaeedAl-Maktoum and Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders.

Al-Maktoum told media that “the A380 is a great aircraft and our passengers worldwide are enthusiastic about this new dimension of air travel. This latest order, adding to 58 A380s previously ordered, affirms Emirates’ strategy to become a world leading carrier and to further establish Dubai as a central gateway to worldwide air travel.

Enders said, “Emirates has supported the development of the A380 from the earliest days, and today’s order…is the best endorsement I can imagine.

Emirates already took delivery of its 10th A380 this week and currently serves the largest A380 network: London Heathrow, Toronto, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Jeddah, Bangkok, Seoul Incheon, Sydney and Auckland. It plans to start A380 service from Dubai to Beijing on Aug. 1 and to Manchester on Sept. 1 and will restore A380 service on its Dubai-New York JFK route in October.

The carrier plans to have an enormous amount of widebody capacity in the future: In addition to the 80 A380s it still has on order for delivery, it has commitments for 70 A350s and 18 777-300s.

Based on the currently known orders for the A380 (234), Emirates holds 39% of the total orders for the type, meaning that more than every third A380 built will be operated by them.

by balint01

First Lufthansa Airbus A380

Lufthansa has taken delivery of their first Airbus A380. The German airline will first use it to transport the German National Team (“Nationalelf”) to the Football (soccer) World Cup in South Africa starting in less than two weeks.

On May 19, Lufthansa become the second European airline after Air France (and the 5th worldwide) to receive the super-jumbo when Airbus CEO Thomas Enders handed over the aircraft to Lufthansa CEO and Chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber at an official ceremony at the Airbus plant in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, which was attended by about 700 honorary guests. The plane powered by Trent-900 engines carries the registration number D-AIMA and is named “Frankfurt am Main”.

The German flag-carrier first plans to operate its first double-decker for pilot training across 13 German airports plus Zurich and Vienna from May 31 through June 3, and also on a few selected scheduled flights from Frankfurt to Munich and Hamburg in order to familiarize crew and airport staff with the aircraft, while also generating publicity. On June 6, 2010, this super-jumbo will transport the German national soccer team to Johannesburg for the World Cup in South Africa.

Lufthansa has configured its Airbus A380 with 526 seats (12 less than so far recorder Air France). The entirely new First Class cabin (seen above) with eight seats on the upper deck reflects the concept of individuality and offers the ultimate in comfort and technical innovation, which further enhances the travel experience. However, Lufthansa did not opt for the personal Suite-type of First Class product as fellow Star Alliance member Singapore Airlines, or Emirates. Lufthansa is rolling-out an overall new First class product together with the introduction of the A380 as originally announced two years ago. Also on the upper deck is the Business Class cabin with 98 seats. The main deck features 420 Economy Class seats providing an unprecedented level of passenger comfort in coach-class (seen below).

Download the full Seat-plan of the Lufthansa Airbus A380-800.

Long-haul scheduled services, starting with Frankfurt-Tokyo Narita route, will commence on June 11, 2010, with thrice weekly return flights, replacing a Boeing 747-400 on the route. The Tokyo A380 service will become daily from August 4, after Lufthansa receives the second super-jumbo. Currently the second plane is undergoing painting work and cabin interior installment in Hamburg, and will be named “München”.

Furthermore Lufthansa will receive two additional A380s this year (one in July and one in September). Its third A380 will operate between Frankfurt and Beijing thrice-weekly beginning Aug. 25 and its fourth will fly between Frankfurt and Johannesburg thrice-weekly from Oct. 25.  The German carrier will take 4 more such planes next year and expects each A380 to transport 366.000 passengers each year, while flying 4.6 million kms each. It received the first plane 2.5 years later than the original schedule and has 15 firm orders currently with 10 more options for the aircraft type.

The first Lufthansa Airbus A380 has also received a brand new maintenance hangar (the largest in Europe) at Frankfurt Airport, by Lufthansa Technik, after seven years of preparational work. The new facility underwent final tests in early April, when a test aircraft was flown in from Toulouse for this purpose. Lufthansa Technik already employs 80 A380-licensed technicians including staff for stations outside of Germany. It invested €150 million ($200.5 million) to build its A380 maintenance facility at Frankfurt expanded later. Currently, it has the capacity to handle three A380s and two MD-11s at one time. Lufthansa will also get support for the first several months of A380 operations from Airbus, which will provide nine specialists to assist the carrier, and Rolls-Royce, which will supply 20 temporary support staff.

We are happy to see another European airline starting to operate the European-built, largest aircraft in the world, and hope that it will bring the expected results, including reduced noise levels for both passengers and residents on the ground, as well as reduced fuel consumption and less emissions.

The big question remaining is: how will the 11 starting players of the Nationalelf share the 8 First Class seats on their June 6 flight to South Africa? 🙂

by balint01

9th Emirates A380 Destination: Manchester

Emirates Airlines is going to fly their Airbus A380 superjumbo to Manchester, UK from the first of September.

The Dubai based carrier will be replacing one of their two daily flights between Dubai and Manchester on September 1, 2010. The plane to be operated to their second A380 destination in the UK will be a 517 seat version of the largest Airbus plane. The A380 will replace a Boeing 777 that currently operates the route.

Manchester will be the 9th destination that Emirates flies the A380 to, and the third in Europe, following London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Outside of Europe they operate the doubledecker aircraft to Toronto, Jeddah, Bangkok, Soeul Incheon, Sydney and Auckland.

This announcement didn’t come cheap for Manchester, though: “We have invested close to £10 million in upgrading the airfield and terminal. . .to accommodate the aircraft,”  Andrew Cornish from Manchester Airport said.

by balint01

Airbus A380 Flights To Zürich

Singapore Airlines will be flying the Airbus A380 to Zürich, Switzerland daily, starting with the 2010 Summer Timetable – from March 28, 2010.

The Singapore Airlines news release states: “Daily Airbus A380 services between Singapore and Zurich will replace the existing 12 weekly frequencies between the two cities, which are currently operated with smaller Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Operations are subject to the airport being certified for A380 flights.

Zürich airport is working on the case to be certified for the A380 as soon as possible, and had a full airport test for the aircraft type at the end of January for two days. Thousands of enthusiastic Swiss plane-spotters took the chance on a very cold morning to watch the 73 meter long Airbus A380 land in Switzerland for the first time. After spending one night in Zürich, the Airbus test aircraft flew to Geneva for similar tests.

These exclusive Airline World pictures were taken of the Airbus Test super-jumbo by Mr. Oliver Decsi, at Zürich airport:

Assuming that the certificate is granted, Zurich will be the third city in Europe and the seventh in Singapore Airlines’ network to receive the A380. The Airline started operating the superjumbo in October 2007 to Sydney and subsequently added services to London, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Melbourne. Many industry analysts earlier predicted Frankfurt, Germany to become the third European destination, but it looks like fellow Star Alliance hub Zürich will get the newest Singapore Airlines airplane, the eleventh of the type for the carrier.

Singapore Airlines is currently the only airline flying non-stop between Zürich and Singapore and can reduce the weekly 12 flights to a daily service, increasing efficiency. On routes where Singapore has started using the A380, it has stolen extra marketshare, and lifted passenger loads. For example on the Tokyo-Narita service, all other airlines flying the route have reported declines in number of passengers (ANA: -13%, JAL: -19%, United Airlines: -22%, Delta Air Lines: -7%), except Singapore with its A380, that gained 8%.

Singapore and Qantas are averaging an 83% load factor across their A380 flights, Airbus says. Singapore’s A380s are achieving a 20% reduction in fuel burn over the 747-400. On reliability, the A380 had a 97% technical dispatch record in the first year, which compares favorably with the Boeing 777 at around 98% and is well ahead of the Boeing 747-400, which swung between 89% and 93% when it entered commercial operations. Airbus is targeting 98% reliability for the A380 this year. The first major batch of software upgrades was introduced on Ship 33, the first for Air France, and these are “making a difference,” as reported by Airbus. The upgrade is being refitted to the other 26 aircraft in service. The A380 has generated approximately 100,000 revenue flight hours on 10,000 flights so far.

Airbus will deliver 20 aircraft this year, including three that were supposed to have been delivered in 2009. “We are at 1.5 aircraft a month and moving up to two a month by year end,” the company said.

20 new A380’s in 2010 will surely mean a lot of similar news about new airlines, new routes and new airports getting the services of the super-jumbo.

by balint01


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