5 July 2013 by Alex Stewart
British Airways took delivery of its first Airbus A380 on Thursday 4 July, making it the first UK airline to add the aircraft to its fleet. The arrival is part of a £10bn upgrade project that also saw the airline take possession of two Boeing Dreamliner aircraft.
The aircraft, the world's largest passenger plane, flew from Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse to London Heathrow, where crowds greeted it. The giant craft will go into service on 24 Sept, when it makes its maiden commercial flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles. Once in service, it will have a range of 9,500 miles and will carry 469 passengers, travelling at speeds of up to 587mph.
Despite its size, the new superjumbo will be quieter and more fuel-efficient; Airbus claim that the craft is up to 16% more efficient, a statistic that should see fuel bills for long-haul flights reduced.
BA Chief Executive Keith Williams announced that, '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."
The new arrival is just the first of its kind though and by 2016 British Airways will have a total of 12 A380s in its fleet, in order to compete with carriers such as Air France, Emirates and Qantas who are already operating services using the new craft.