Airbus denies delays as SIA takes first A380

Airbus says it is on track to meet A380 deliveries in 2008 and is not planning further delays, the planemaker’s sales chief John Leahy told reporters on Monday. This came as Airbus delivered its first completed superjumbo to Singapore Airlines.The Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported on Sunday that Airbus remained worried about deliveries and had launched a new set of measures last month to weed out any further delays.

“There are no delays, that is a misunderstanding,” Leahy told reporters at the handover ceremony to SIA.

Singapore Airlines entered int a new era in long-haul air travel, with the formal handover of the world’s first A380 at Airbus headquarters in southern France.

The handover took place at the Henri Ziegler Delivery Centre, Toulouse, at a ceremony attended by over 500 people, and officiated by Chief Executive Officers Tom Enders (Airbus), Sir John Rose (Rolls-Royce) and Chew Choon Seng (Singapore Airlines).

The first delivery marks the culmination of an engineering project unrivalled in the aerospace industry.  The A380 is the largest passenger plane ever built and the first completely new design of a passenger aircraft in decades. 

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Components have been built in plants around the world before being brought together for assembly at key Airbus facilities in Europe.  Final assembly took place in Toulouse, France, while the painting of the livery and installation of the aircraft cabin took place in Hamburg, Germany.

Singapore Airlines first announced its intention to become an A380 customer in September 2000, with an order for 10 A380s and options on a further 15.  That firm order was increased to 19 in July 2006. At catalogue prices, the commitment to the 19 firm orders, including engines and spares, is in the order of US$5.7 billion.

Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines will power the first 10 aircraft in the Singapore Airlines order.  An engine selection has not yet been made for the subsequent nine aircraft.

Since the order was announced, Singapore Airlines has completed the enormous task of preparing for the entry into service of the new super-jumbo.  Every aspect of the aircraft’s operations - engineering, catering, cargo and baggage loading and unloading, passenger embarkation and disembarkation, flying operations and every aspect of customer service on board - has been redesigned to accommodate the extra passenger capacity, while maintaining operating efficiency.

In addition, a number of new cabin products have been developed, after a detailed consultation exercise with frequent travellers, which began as far back as 2001.  The new cabin products were unveiled in late 2006 and are being rolled out on all new aircraft across the Singapore Airlines fleet.

Today, Singapore Airlines unveils some new innovations, unique to the A380 [see separate release].

The Singapore Airlines A380 is configured with 471 seats in three classes: Economy, Business and the new Singapore Airlines Suites; a class beyond first.

The aircraft will enter commercial service on Thursday 25 October 2007, with a special return flight between Singapore and Sydney.  The majority of seats on this flight were sold at auction on eBay, the global online marketplace, and all of the proceeds from the auction are being split among charities in Singapore, Sydney and a global humanitarian organisation.

Then, on Sunday 28 October 2007, the A380 will commence scheduled service between Singapore and Sydney on one of the three daily flights in each direction.

The delivery of subsequent aircraft will allow for the introduction of the A380, also on one of the three daily flights between Singapore and London’s Heathrow Airport from the first quarter of 2008.

During the last few years, Singapore Airlines has joined with Airbus, and other A380 customers, to work with the world’s major airports to ensure they are A380-ready.  The support of the airport communities has meant many airports, to which A380s will operate, are now ready, or in the final stages of becoming so.

Singapore’s Changi Airport, which will be home to the Singapore Airlines A380 fleet, was the first to be ready, and when the new Terminal 3 opens early next year, 19 gates across the three terminals will be fully A380-ready, including having aerobridge access to both decks.

Fuel burn is considerably lower, on a seat-mile basis, than today’s large aircraft.  This offers operating airlines real efficiency benefits, while also mitigating the environmental impact of flying.  Emissions per passengers are the lowest of any aircraft.

The A380’s noise emissions prove that big aircraft are not necessarily noisier.  New technology, new design, airframe construction and engines all aid in making the A380 the quietest large passenger jet ever built.  Onboard, the cabin amenity is substantially improved, with significantly lower cabin noise throughout.
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