18/05/2006

Airbus A380 lands at Heathrow

The world's largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, has made its first landing at Heathrow Airport.

The 240ft-long aircraft flew to London from Berlin on Thursday and landed at Heathrow's new £105 million pier 6 at Terminal 3.

The A380 flew into Heathrow to test the airport's facilities, before returning to Berlin on Friday.

Around £450 million has been spent to get Heathrow ready to handle the A380, including work on resurfacing runways, upgrading runway lighting and the construction of new taxiways.

The A380 is due to go into passenger service at the end of the year, with Singapore airlines being the first operator to put it into service.

The A380 has been hailed as being more environmentally friendly than older aircraft. However, environmental campaigners remain unconvinced.

Friends of the Earth aviation campaigner Richard Dyer said: "Cleaner aircraft are certainly needed, but they are not the solution to the rising impact of aviation emissions on our climate. Any benefits gained by building more fuel efficient aircraft will be swamped by the rapid growth in air travel. Government action is urgently required to curb the anticipated rise in flights. This must include ending the £9 billion effective subsidy handed to the air industry by UK taxpayers every year, and the scrapping of ludicrous plans for a massive expansion in British airports."

(KMcA/GB)


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