Friday, September 19, 2008

Qantas takes delivery of its first Airbus A380

Airbus A380In a ceremony at the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France, on September 19, 2008, Australian airline Qantas took delivery of its first Airbus A380 'superjumbo' aircraft. The new aircraft (registration number VH-OQA) will become the Qantas flagship.

The new Qantas double-decker A380, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, is configured with 450 seats. On the main deck are 14 first class suites, and 332 economy seats. The upper deck has 72 business class seats, plus 32 premium economy seats.

According to Qantas, features of the new A380 include:
  • 14 single private suites in First Class featuring a 17 inch LCD wide screen video monitor, a unique touch screen control unit, and a seat (manufactured by B/E Aerospaces's VIP jet group) that swivels into a comfortable armchair and a fully flat, extra long and wide bed
  • the next generation of Qantas' award-winning sleeper seat Skybed in Business Class, which now offers an extra long and fully flat bed with ergonomically enhanced cushioning, a larger in-arm entertainment screen, additional storage options and more privacy
  • a private lounge area in the upper deck Business Class cabin featuring leather sofas, a self-service bar, large video monitor with laptop connectivity and a feature display cabinet
  • Premium Economy seats by Recaro, with fully adjustable, in-arm, digital wide screen television monitors, and a self service bar dedicated to the upper deck Premium Economy cabin
  • Recaro seats in Economy Class featuring a sliding base that moves with the seat back to create a more comfortable, ergonomically tested position to aid sleep and eliminate pressure points and a foot net to stop sliding during sleep
  • four self-service bars in Economy Class
  • state-of-the-art Panasonic inflight entertainment system with more than 100 on demand movies, 350 television selections, 500 audio CDs, 30 PC style games, and a selection of audio books, language tutorials, destination information, business education and radio channels
  • in-seat laptop power and connectivity in every class allowing passengers to send and receive emails directly from their personal webmail and hotmail accounts via laptop or seat monitor
The first Qantas A380, named after Australian pioneer aviatrix Nancy-Bird Walton, aged 92, was scheduled to depart Toulouse at 23:55 and operate via Singapore to touch down in Sydney at 09:00 (AEST) on Sunday, September 21, 2008.

Nancy-Bird Walton will attend the official naming ceremony for the aircraft in Sydney on 30 September.

The new Qantas A380 will enter commercial service in October with an inaugural flight to Los Angeles.

In a Qantas news release about the delivery of the aircraft, the airline's Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Geoff Dixon, said the A380 symbolized a new era of travel for Qantas.

"No other airline has flown as far as Qantas for as long as Qantas, so we know very well the value of a well designed inflight product for long haul flights," said Dixon. "The A380, with its extra space, new materials and advanced technology, has given us the ideal platform to reinvent the inflight experience."

Qantas is the third airline to take delivery of an A380 for commercial passenger service. Singapore Airlines flew the first commercial A380 flight last October. In July of this year, Dubai-based Emirates Airline took delivery of its first A380, which made its inaugural flight on August 1.

[Photo Source]