British Airways (BA) has become the 10th operator to receive an Airbus A380, after taking delivery of the first of 12 aircraft on order.
The first UK-based operator of the Airbus A380, British Airways will initially deploy its new flagship aircraft on routes from London Heathrow to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Tickets for BA A380 travel to Los Angeles are on sale from October 15 and British Airways A380 flights to Hong Kong are available for booking from November 15.
With service from slot-constrained London Heathrow Airport, British Airways will become the fifth A380 operator at the airport, underscoring the jetliner’s capability to maximize revenue and grow traffic for airlines at slot-constrained airports.
After a hand-over ceremony at Airbus’ delivery center in Toulouse ‒ with Keith Williams, British Airways CEO; Eric Schulz, Roll-Royce’s president Civil Large Engines; Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO; and other senior executives ‒ BA’s first A380 is being flown to the UK carrier’s home base at London Heathrow Airport, where the cabin is being unveiled.
“We’re delighted to be the first UK airline taking delivery of the A380. It is a great aircraft that has been developed with huge amounts of British engineering ingenuity and we believe it will prove very popular with our customers when it starts flying to its first destination of Los Angeles,” says Williams.
“It is a very proud moment for everyone at Airbus to see our A380 in the livery of British Airways, one of the world’s most pioneering airlines. With this new flagship in their fleet, the British carrier opens a new era of long-haul flying and offers its passengers an all-new travel experience”, says Brégier.
“It is a special day for UK industry too, as a significant proportion of this amazing aircraft was designed and built at Airbus’ UK sites in Filton and Broughton, as well as at our many partners’ facilities across the country,” adds Brégier.
All of BA’s A380s will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. Airbus currently has firm orders for 262 A380s, from 20 customers.
The first A380 for British Airways also had a starring role during the Paris Air Show in June, exhibited with its distinctive livery in Le Bourget Airport’s static display area and participating in flying presentations during the event’s initial three days.
Following the July 4 delivery of its first A380, British Airways is scheduled to receive two more A380s this year – the second in September and the third in October. The carrier is due to have all of the ordered A380s in its inventory by the end of 2016.
Airbus has delivered 106 A380s so far to operators. The aircraft have logged more than 109,000 revenue flights and carried approximately 40 million passengers since the A380 entered commercial service (with Singapore Airlines) in October 2007.
On average, an A380 takes off or lands every five minutes around the world at one of the 30 airports where it operates today and the A380 route network and network of A380-capable airports continue to grow.
The A380 joins a substantial Airbus fleet already in place at British Airways. The carrier currently operates more than 110 single-aisle Airbus A320-family aircraft.
On April 22, additionally, International Airlines Group (IAG), BA’s parent company, signed a memorandum of understanding to order 18 Airbus A350-1000 widebodies and to option 18 more, which when delivered will be operated by the UK carrier.
IAG also secured commercial terms and delivery slots for a potential A350-1000 order for its other major airline subsidiary, Iberia.
The A380 is capable of flying 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 kilometers) non-stop.
Its quiet cabin and smooth ride have made the A380 a favorite with both airlines and passengers, resulting in higher load factors wherever it flies, according to Airbus.
The A380 is the second new aircraft type of which BA has taken delivery in the past week. On June 27, British Airways received its first Boeing 787-8, from a firm order for 24 787s.
(Additionally, IAG recently announced that it would convert options on 18 more 787s to firm orders for British Airways, subject to shareholder agreement.)
British Airways has announced that it will operate the 787 from Heathrow to Toronto Pearson International Airport from September 1 and from Heathrow to Newark Liberty International Airport from October 1.