Well, after many years of waiting – and completely overshadowing last weeks delivery of BA’s first Boeing 787 – the first BA A380 landed at Heathrow yesterday after a short flight from the Airbus facility in Toulouse.
The first ‘proper’ flights will be to LA on 24th September, followed by Hong Kong as the second destination from 22nd October. (Plane No 2 is due in September and No 3 in October, with more to follow in 2014.)
This is the old PR shot:
What we have seen in the last few weeks is the start of a major fleet renewal programme. The next few years will see the delivery of:
- 12 x A380’s
- 42 x Boeing 787’s
- 6 x Boeing 777’s (Extended Range version)
- 18 x A350’s
The downside of all this is the phasing out of the Boeing 747’s, although they will remain in the fleet for a good while yet, albeit in reducing numbers.
From the official statement:
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 per cent more personal space and 60 per cent 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. 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 our 777-300ER fleet.
The aircraft’s innovative design makes it much quieter during take-off and landing and 16 per cent 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.
If you are interested in flying the A380, the current best rumour information on Flyertalk is that they will be replacing the Boeing 767 that flies to Frankfurt during August. (The timetable has been changed to show a 100 minute turnaround time, which is suspicious!)
Unfortunately, this flight departs Heathrow at 06.45! It lands in Frankfurt at 09.30, and flies back to London at 11.10, landing at Heathrow at 11.50. For now, it still shows as a Boeing 767.