As British Airways (BA) began its initial programme of crew training flights with the Airbus A380 from Manston Airport this week, the carrier continues to look at the proposed entry into scheduled service of the SuperJumbo and which destinations will follow Los Angeles and Hong Kong to be served by the aircraft.
BA became the tenth airline to receive the A380 when it took delivery of its first of 12 aircraft earlier this month. It will use the aircraft on its flagship routes to Hong Kong and Los Angeles after initially debuting the type on its London Heathrow – Frankfurt route for crew familiarisation reasons.
The entry into long-haul scheduled operations was initially planned for mid-October 2013 but following the delivery of its first aircraft BA reported a three week acceleration in the process earlier this month with flights to Los Angeles now due to start on September 24 rather than October 15 and to Hong Kong from October 22 rather than November 15. The A380 will initially be operated on five weekly rotations to Los Angeles and daily services to Hong Kong.
“We are delighted to welcome the first of our A380s to the fleet, joining our new 787s. These aircraft are the start of a new era for British Airways. 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,” said Keith Williams, Chief Executive Officer, British Airways.
BA’s A380s accommodate 469 customers across four cabins. Customers in First Class will be seated at the front of the main deck in a private 14-seat cabin. Club World (Business Class) customers will have the option between a 44 seat cabin on the main deck or 53 seats on the upper deck. A 55-seat World Traveller Plus (premier economy) cabin is also located on the upper deck while World Traveller (Economy) customers are seated on both the main and upper deck.
The UK carrier is due to receive all 12 A380s it has on order by 2016 with three due for delivery this year and a further five in 2014. The carrier’s aviation marketing team is currently working on the proposed deployment of the additional aircraft and it has been suggested that Miami could be among the future destinations with local media reports claiming that modification work is currently taking place at Miami International Airport in preparation for the upgauged BA service.