Officials of Airbus and Qantas Airways have said that the Airbus A380’s first visits to the United States will include a stop at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Airbus A380’s First Flights to U.S. to Include Landing at LAX
The scheduled landing is set to take place on Monday, March 19, 2007.
“Being part of the A380’s inaugural visit to the U.S. is a clear indication that Los Angeles is a leading international gateway and that our airport is a world-class facility,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “The A380 is at the leading edge of the future of aviation, and Los Angeles is proud to be a part of this historic moment.”
“We have worked very closely with the Mayor, our customer, Qantas Airways, and the team at Los Angeles World Airports to bring about this opportunity,” said Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus North America Holdings, Inc. “We are proud that LAX is part of the A380’s first visit to the United States.”
Wally Mariani, Qantas Airways senior executive vice president, The Americas and Pacific, said, “Qantas has always been at the forefront of aviation innovation and we are pleased to be able to continue that tradition by being the first airline to operate the A380 from Los Angeles International Airport on our flights to Australia.”
Simultaneously on March 19, two separate A380 aircraft will land at LAX and at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, allowing both coasts to catch a glimpse of the future of commercial aviation. This provides Qantas an opportunity to accelerate its airport compatibility testing at LAX as its first A380 destination in America.
While at LAX, the crews will test airfield maneuvering, mating (docking) at a terminal gate, and ground-handling services and equipment including fueling.
The A380 will be the biggest passenger plane in the skies, with a wingspan of almost 262 feet, nearly the size of a football field. Moreover, the height of the double-deck superjumbo jet is more than 79 feet, equivalent to an eight-story building. Although the plane can accommodate 800 passengers, Qantas is configuring its A380 fleet with three-class service and a capacity of approximately 500 seats to provide new levels of in-flight comfort for passengers.
New-generation engines, combined with an advanced wing and landing gear design, make the A380 significantly quieter than today’s largest airliner. The Airbus A380 will have better fuel efficiency and emit less air pollutants than the current large aircraft.
“Welcoming an aircraft that is an environmental champion is a clear indicator to our surrounding communities that reducing emissions and pollutants in and around the airport is a priority for LAX and the City of Los Angeles,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “Being the first to greet the A380 to the U.S. shows the world we are confident and prepared to be the number one hub of new large aircraft operations in the country.”
Airbus chairman McArtor said, “Clearly, progressive international gateways like Los Angeles see the tremendous value of having A380 service, and they want to demonstrate to the airlines that they will be prepared to welcome A380 flights when the airlines place this aircraft into service.” He continued, “The benefits of serving more passengers without increasing the numbers of takeoffs and landings—not to mention doing so with reduced noise and emissions—are obvious to these airports and the communities they serve.”
The Airbus A380 is designed to fly long routes, such as to Los Angeles from Europe or from Asia Pacific, the fastest growing commercial aviation market in the world.
According to Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners President Alan Rothenberg, “LAX is the premier West Coast international gateway with more daily flights to Pacific Rim countries than any other U.S. airport. LAX is expected to be among the top airports in the world with A380 service.”
Airport officials anticipate that by the year 2010, international airlines flying from LAX may be operating up to 10 A380 flights daily, following the lead set by Qantas Airways next year.
“Los Angeles International Airport has been at the forefront of commercial aviation history for nearly eight decades,” said Los Angeles World Airports Acting Executive Director Samson Mengistu. “We have been preparing for the arrival of new large aircraft like the A380 and are pleased to be a part of its proving flights to the United States.”
According to Mengistu, during the past two years, LAX has spent over $51 million preparing the airfield and its terminals to accommodate new-generation aircraft. LAX is also expected to spend another $70 million on additional airfield and terminal improvements to accommodate the future of air travel.
Further details of the A380 flight to LAX will be made public in the coming weeks.