British Airways A380 superjumbo flies in formation with Red Arrows

A brand new British Airways A380 double decker superjumbo made its debut at the Royal International Air Tattoo, taking flight with the Red Arrows at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Thousands of spectators gathered to see the display of the world’s largest commercial aircraft at the weekend, on a fly-past with the nine Hawks of the RAF’s air show team. British Airways’ senior first officer Peter Nye was at the controls, with Captain Charles Everett in command of the aircraft.

‘It’s been a great privilege to fly alongside the Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo today. It was a very British celebration,’ Nye said, adding: ‘A lot of work has gone into planning the display and I’m told it was quite a spectacle.’

Supported by the Royal Air Force, with over 250 aircraft participating each year, the world’s leading aerospace companies and more than 130,000 visitors, the Royal International Air Tattoo is recognised as the world’s largest military air show, and also as one of the premier outdoor family events in the UK.

RAF Squadron Leader Mike Ling, Red 10, who handled the safety and technical aspects of the fly-past, said: ‘Putting our Hawk jets behind or alongside an aircraft of the size of the Airbus A380 obviously involves a great deal of precision but the task is essentially the same as the careful flying required for air-to-air refueling with a big tanker aircraft.’

‘Flying in formation with the Airbus A380 was a highlight of our year,’ he said.

Prince Harry was among those who were set to fly as part of the world’s largest military air show at the weekend. The Prince, who earlier this month qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander, took flight alongside the Red Arrows for a warm-up ahead of The Royal International Air Tattoo which takes place at the airbase.

BA will put the A380 into service on its routes to Los Angeles and Hong Kong in early autumn.

The giant £270million aircraft can carry 469 passengers – almost double the number of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. BA is looking to have a dozen of those in its fleet by 2016.