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Super jumbo A380 turns one

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The aircraft was brought to India's Hyderabad air show earlier this month where it became the attraction for aviators and flying enthusiasts

SINGAPORE (BNS): A year ago, the world of aviation was stirred with the introduction of a new aircraft for regular flight services. It has been more than three decades since an aircraft had raised so many eyebrows. The last time it happened was when Boeing introduced its 747s or Jumbo jets. The sheer size of the aircraft was enough to turn heads and take notice.

When Airbus A380, world's first fully double-decked, rolled out of its manufacturing base at Toulouse in France to enter into service for the first time on October 15, 2007 with Singapore Airlines, it was heralded as the end of the Jumbo era and beginning of a new chapter in long distance flying. Singapore Airline started flying A380 exactly a year ago on October 25.

In the last one year, it received wide admiration wherever it landed. Be it Singapore, Australia or India, it was watched by an awe struck audience. Its maiden flight, from Singapore to Sydney, was for a special charity.

The modern times would be known as the A380 days. Airlines world over have ordered the aircraft and the order books for more have been full. Airbus claims more than 700,000 passengers have already flown on the aircraft in operation with Singapore Airline, Emirates and Qantas Airways. Together, the three airlines have nine aircraft, six alone with Singapore Airlines. It has been flying regularly to some of the big cities of the world from Tokyo, Dubai and Sydney to London, New York, Melbourne and Los Angeles in 1600 commercial flights.

Airbus claimed that the aircraft has set new benchmarks in terms of performance, eco-efficiency and low operating costs. These are additional achievements apart from being a luxurious and extremely passenger friendly aircraft to fly. The airlines were smiling as its fuel consumption per seat is at least 20 per cent less than its competitor Jumbo jet claimed Airbus.

“Singapore Airlines is very pleased with the performance of the A380 in its first year of operations,” said Chew Choon Seng, Chief Executive Officer of the airline. “We are flying six of them, linking Singapore with Sydney and Tokyo daily and with London twice every day. The A380 has lived up to its promises and proven to be reliable and fuel efficient. Importantly it has been a hit with our customers who enjoy its spaciousness, quietness and comfort, as well as the new cabin products and features we introduced with it. Our crews enjoy working on the aircraft and the A380 has advanced the Airline's reputation for services that other airlines talk about.”

The other operators talk in similar tone. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the head of Emirates said: “In addition to the lower impact on the environment, its new generation engines and superb aerodynamic performance mean that the A 380 not only complies with today's noise limits, it is also significantly quieter than any other large aircraft flying today and produces only half as much noise on take off and landing as the former largest commercial aircraft.”

Airbus said it has orders for 202 A380s from 17 customers. The deliveries of these planes are expected to be on schedule. Some of the Indian airlines like Kingfisher have also ordered A 380s. The aircraft was brought to India's Hyderabad air show earlier this month where it became the attraction for aviators and flying enthusiasts.

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