British Airways’ first Airbus 380 lands at Manston

British Airways’ first Airbus 380, the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft, has landed safely at Manston Airport, Kent, UK.

The Airbus, a recent addition to British Airway’s fleet, will be based at Manston as part of the airline’s training for its pilots, flight crew and cabin staff before the A380s commence service in September.

The A380 is claimed to generate only a quarter of the noise level of the Boeing 747-400 when landing. It also produces 10 percent less NOx emissions and is 16 percent more fuel efficient than the aircraft it replaces. Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, built at Derby, will power all of BA’s A380s. Nearly 40 percent of the near £300 million cost of each superjumbo – or around £120million – is ‘British made’.

Keith Williams, British Airways chief executive, had commented previously, ‘The A380 is a fantastic aircraft and an excellent showpiece for British engineering. Our customers are going to love the space, light and comfort on board.’ Each A380 aircraft can carry 469 passengers over two decks with four cabins.

When the plane arrived, Manston Airport’s chief executive, Charles Buchanan, said: ‘The reason that British Airways chose here was because of the capacity that we have available and because of the length of our runway and the handling capabilities of our teams and the professionalism of our staff.

‘We have worked very closely with British Airways for six months on this programme – bringing together all sorts of different elements of what we need to put in place: fire service cover; ground services equipment and all sorts of things like that, to make sure we can handle the aircraft efficiently, and being able to demonstrate that to the aviation community is just going to build our reputation.’

Captain David Thomas, British Airways’ head of flight technical and training, said: ‘We are delighted to be based at Manston for the next few weeks.

‘We’ve been made very welcome by everyone at the airport, and hope that the sight of the A380 in the skies over Ramsgate will be a pleasant surprise for local residents and visitors to the area.

‘Manston Airport has the capacity to serve one million passengers per annum today and a deliverable master-plan that accommodates five million or more.’

The airport handles more than 30,000 tonnes of freight a year and has the capacity to deliver 100,000 tonnes in the existing facilities, growing to 400,000 in the future.