18/03/2008

'Superjumbo' Takes Flight

The Airbus A380 superjumbo, is to fly into Heathrow today as it makes its first commercial flight to Europe.

Singapore Airlines is the first carrier to operate the new double-decker aircraft on revenue-earning services.

More than 470 passengers flew out of Singapore’s Changi airport on the 14-hour journey to London, the flight is expected to land in Heathrow at around 3pm.

British Airways has ordered 12 of the airliners, due to be delivered from 2012, while rival Virgin Atlantic has order six, to arrive from 2013.

First Class offers the 'ultimate' in flying in luxury with 12 suites with 23-inch TV and cinema screens and double beds, business class allow 60 people to enjoy flat-bed sleeping, and economy offers almost 400 passengers seat-back screens and ample room.

Heathrow has spent more than £100 million on new facilities to accommodate the A380, which will by flying into Terminal 3.

The airports newly opened Terminal 5 can also house the superjumbo.

Singapore Airlines and manufacturer Airbus claim the aircraft is the quietest and most environmentally friendly big plane claiming that the aircraft burns 17% less fuel per seat than the current largest airliner.

Friends of the Earth argue that any benefits will be outdone as demand for air travel increases.

The airliner’s impressive wings were made at Broughton in north Wales and at Filton in Bristol, the Rolls-Royce powered engines are made in Derby.

Singapore Airllines say that the start of the commercial A380 service to London mark a "proud moment" for the UK aviation sector.

(DS)


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