Qantas has welcomed the return to Sydney of the Airbus A380 with a special promotional flight - the first time the aircraft has flown with passengers in Australia. Qantas Executive General Manager, Mr John Borghetti, said the world’s largest passenger aircraft would be integral to Qantas’ long haul international plans. “Today’s flight has confirmed that the A380 is going to revolutionise air travel,” Mr Borghetti said. “With its fuel efficiency and overall performance, the A380 will deliver significant benefits to Qantas and the environment, as well as giving us the scope to reinvent the style of product and service we offer onboard. “We have been working with Qantas Creative Director Marc Newson for more than two years now on new, state-of-the-art First, Business and Economy cabins for the Qantas A380, which will be unveiled in the near future. “Our focus has been on providing enhanced levels of comfort and space. With the recent launch of our new First lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, we have already given customers a taste of what they can expect. “The Qantas A380 will set a benchmark for the industry and the future of long haul travel.” Mr Borghetti said the A380 had visited Australia on two previous occasions - in November 2005 to help Qantas celebrate its 85 th anniversary, and in November 2006 as part of its pre-certification route proving flying. “The A380 has again generated high levels of interest with this third visit to Australia,” Mr Borghetti said. “Earlier today, nearly 2000 Qantas employees were able to experience the aircraft first hand during a program of tours on the Qantas Jetbase.
“Today’s flight, which included low altitude passes over Sydney Harbour and Canberra, has allowed Airbus and Qantas to showcase the A380 to more than 200 corporate customers, frequent flyers, media representatives and staff.” Qantas placed an initial order for 12 A380s, including 12 options, in 2000. In November 2006 Qantas converted eight of those options to increase its overall order to 20 aircraft. The first Qantas A380 is scheduled to arrive in August 2008. Qantas will initially deploy the aircraft on routes from Australia to the United States and the United Kingdom.