BA welcomes first Airbus A380 jet



Reuters

Published — Friday 5 July 2013

Last update 5 July 2013 2:48 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

LONDON: British Airways welcomed its first Airbus A380 jet, the world’s biggest commercial aircraft, part of a $15 billion upgrade to top-of-the-range planes that it hopes will give it a boost in the lucrative market for long-haul business travel.
The emergence of the fuel-efficient double-decker through the grey clouds over Heathrow airport in west London was greeted by hundreds of British Airways (BA) staff and spectators, a boon to a group that has been weighed down by its aging fleet.
The plane touched down on time and taxied into a hangar near Heathrow terminal five, met by cabin crew in uniform waving British flags. The first long-haul flight on the A380 will run to Los Angeles on Sept. 24, the British flag carrier said, slightly earlier than the originally planned October start.
“These aircraft are the start of a new era for British Airways,” said Chief Executive Keith Williams, noting the airline hadn’t had any new long-haul aircraft for 17 years.
“Over the next 15 months, we will take delivery of new aircraft at the rate of one a fortnight as we put ourselves at the forefront of modern aviation.”
BA’s ageing long-haul fleet has put it at a “cost and quality” disadvantage to rivals, especially deep pocketed Middle Eastern carriers such as Emirates, which run newer, more cost-effective planes that are also more comfortable and better equipped, according to Davy analyst Stephen Furlong.
BA, part of International Airlines Group (IAG), received the first of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners last month, making it the first airline in Europe to fly both new planes once commercial operations begin.
The aircraft are the centerpiece of a ten-year, $15 billion upgrade to BA’s long-haul fleet, which will include retiring older and less fuel-efficient Boeing 747-400 jumbos.
IAG will need to wring all the profit it can from its new jets if operational problems at its Spanish carrier Iberia continue to wipe out progress at BA.
IAG, Europe’s third-biggest airline group by market value, made an operating loss of 278 million euros ($ 361 million) in the first three months of this year, with Iberia causing 202 million of that as it suffered from competition from low-cost rivals and high-speed trains and labor disputes. BA broke even during the quarter, helped by business and first-class traffic.
BA has 12 A380s and 42 Dreamliners on order for delivery over the next ten years. The A380 is built for use between major international airports, while the Dreamliner is intended for less busy routes and uses lightweight technology.
Sales of the A380 have been sluggish over the last five years, with Airbus announcing 262 orders, of which 105 are now in service. Attention has turned to smaller, lighter planes like the Airbus A350 and the Dreamliner.
However, Airbus Executive Vice President of Programmes, Tom Williams, saw a change as global growth picks up. “With passenger numbers now rising and airlines adding capacity again we feel the A380 is the right plane for this time,” he said.
BA’s A380s, which will carry 469 people, will go a small way to helping it cope with capacity constraints at Heathrow.
Business lobby groups have said Britain risks falling behind if it does not boost flights to emerging economies. But plans for a third Heathrow runway were scrapped in 2010 when the government bowed to pressure from local residents and environmental groups.
The arrival of the A380s will be welcomed by bosses at Heathrow who plan to name and shame airlines found guilty of breaking noise limits at the airport as it seeks to win more public support for expansion plans.
Noise produced by airlines using Heathrow affects some 700,000 local residents, according to Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, more than any other airport in Europe.
Airbus says the A380 makes half the noise of Boeing’s 747 — previously the world’s biggest jet — during take off, while Boeing says its Dreamliner is equivalent to the sounds of heavy traffic when standing at a roadside.
Both manufacturers say their new planes burn at least 20 percent less fuel than similar, older models.
BA’s A380 has a lower seat density than many of its competitors, as it looks to lure more passengers to first and business class seats, the most profitable part of its business.
Its fleet modernization program also includes orders for six new Boeing 777-300ERs, along with 18 Airbus A350 jets.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Kingdom and New Zealand have signed an air services agreement to set a comprehensive regulatory framework for air transport, operating on a safe and organized basis.The deal was signed at the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) he...
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s capital city has major opportunities for investors across several sectors, the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh stated in its investment climate report for last year.The report, published in a local newspaper on Fr...
RIYADH: Education Minister Ahmed Al-Issa has called on teachers, educators and other officials of his ministry to work hard for the common goal of producing quality graduates. “I urge you to do your level best in transmitting knowledge to the student...
AL-AHSA: Uncoordinated production resources, lack of risk planning, evaluation, non-study of similar projects and poor planning are among the reasons for failure of projects, an expert has said.“Total quality management (TQM) is an integrated scienti...
JEDDAH: The Specialized Criminal Court has issued its verdict against two Saudis for terrorism-related offenses and for supporting extremist groups, a local daily has reported.The court issued a prison sentence of ten and a half years to the first de...
RIYADH: The second phase of the operation on a Polish child for a genetic heart disease was successfully performed at the King Abdulaziz Medical City (KAMC) of the National Guard Health Affairs on Wednesday. On a directive from Custodian of the Two H...
JEDDAH: A new breast cancer treatment improves survival rates by an average 20 percent, with life expectancy lengthened by 29.9 months.This is according to Ahmed Al-Wabari, breast oncology consultant at King Fahd Specialist Hospital in Dammam, who ou...
RIYADH: The projects of Saudi students at the Technical Trainers College (TTC) is being showcased at the German pavilion in the 30th Janadriyah Festival. With the slogan “Welcome to Your Future”, the TTC is participating in the festival with Germany...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Labor has urged firms to immediately start implementing the 10th phase of the Wage Protection System before it becomes mandatory on March 31.Mohammed Al-Faleh, assistant undersecretary for inspection and development of the wor...
RIYADH: As many as 104 antique items that have come from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany, have gone on display at the National Museum here. The exhibition coincides the Janadriyah festival for heritage and culture.According to local media, the...
RIYADH: A visiting Kuwaiti delegation has praised Saudi Arabia for collecting and preserving various heritage items at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh.The delegation, led by Kuwait’s Education Minister Bader Al-Essa, was given a tour...
RIYADH: Road security forces in Madinah apprehended two Asian expats who were caught in possession of a huge amount of money totaling SR1.6 million and talismans.“The two Asians were riding in a Japanese-made car when they were stopped at the Yanbu-...
RIYADH: Good news for the 25,000 British expatriates in the Kingdom, who will get their franchise to participate in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.In an announcement on Thursday, the British Embassy here said that the Uni...
JEDDAH: Jeddah Municipality, with cooperation of the Check Safety First British company, launched an award of excellence for services in restaurants under the name E-Cristal to support the establishment of best services in restaurants and eatery shop...
JEDDAH: Well-known Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan married Safa Baig, an Indian woman, who was born in Jeddah and raised here by her Hyderabadi parents.The marriage was solemnized at a simple ceremony at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Wednesday. Only a...

Stay Connected

Facebook