Airbus and Heathrow celebrate 10th anniversary of first A380 flight to London

A380 in flight 01

More than 200 million passengers have enjoyed the A380 experience

Airbus and Heathrow Airport are celebrating the 10th anniversary of A380 operations at the airport. They began on 18 March, 2008 with the arrival of the first A380, Singapore Airlines flight SQ308 from Singapore Changi Airport, making Heathrow one of the first to welcome Airbus’ iconic double decker.

Heathrow is now the world’s busiest A380 airport by number of A380 operators with nine airlines* operating to 13 destinations on some 50 A380 daily flights. Heathrow serves 78 million passengers a year of which, 10 percent travel on the A380.

Passenger traffic doubles every 15 years and the A380 is and remains the best solution for absorbing growth by using aircraft slots more efficiently; especially where airport capacity is limited. Like no other aircraft, the A380 unlocks growth in a comfortable and eco-friendly way. The A380 is also a good neighbour and won a UK noise abatement society award in recognition of its low noise operations, generating half the noise energy on departure than its nearest competitor, as well as up to four times less when landing.

Simon Eastburn, Director of Airline Business Development at Heathrow said: “It’s been fantastic to see nine of our airlines welcome the Airbus A380 over the past decade. Ten years from first flight, this pioneering aircraft has helped us reduce noise and improve efficiency whilst supporting continued passenger demand for long-haul routes. This is one of the most popular aircraft for many passengers so we look forward to celebrating this milestone with them.”

To date, more than 200 million passengers have enjoyed the A380 experience. According to a survey carried out by Epinion, 98 percent of A380 passengers would recommend flying on the A380 to their friends and family, and 60 percent are willing to make an extra effort to fly aboard the aircraft.**

As the smoothest, quietest flight, it offers unparalleled comfort in all classes. A modern feat of engineering and design, the A380 is the universally recognised benchmark. It provides airlines with a canvas to create the most outstanding business and first classes in the air, with amenities like showers, beds, bars and lounges.

Flying with the world’s leading airlines on over 120 routes to 60 destinations, the A380 is the passenger’s favourite. Airbus’ iconic superjumbo jet offers more personal space and the widest seats in the sky in all classes, including economy class.

Building on passengers’ excitement around the flagship A380, Airbus launched in 2016 the first booking assistant of its kind: In January 2018, following the website’s success, Airbus unveiled the iflyA380 app, which enhances the website with more choices, features and content and new possibilities to interact with the A380.

David Dufrenois, Head of A380 Market Development at Airbus, said: “The A380 is essential to the operations of Heathrow, which is today the first hub in the world for long-haul traffic. As 70 percent of long-haul traffic connects through hubs, the unique A380 offer strengthens Heathrow’s passenger appeal over other airports.”

To celebrate the 10th anniversary, Airbus and Heathrow will surprise passengers landing at Heathrow on A380 flights from 18 to 28 March with A380 goodies. Ten lucky passengers will also receive VIP packs to continue their journey to London in style, including complimentary porter service at the airport, Heathrow Express Business First tickets to central London or a WeKnowLondon chauffeured drive to the winners’ chosen address, and a £250 WeKnowLondon voucher.

Useful links
Link to the booking assistant:
Download the app now on the App Store:
Find out more about iflyA380 app:

Building on passengers’ excitement around the iconic double deck A380, Airbus launched in 2016 the first booking assistant of its kind: Bringing together all 13 A380 operators to present the on-board services they offer to the 60 destinations they serve, the website provides a seamless way to browse destinations and select an A380 flight at no extra cost before booking through the airline’s website.

Following user feedback and travel trends, is continuously evolving to offer the most efficient and pleasurable service possible. The service has been constantly fine-tuned since launch, with design updates for improved user experience and search functionality, and has had millions of visitors since its launch.

About Heathrow Airport
Heathrow is Europe’s largest airport and one of the world’s top international aviation hubs. As the UK’s global gateway, Heathrow welcomes more than 78 million passengers every year with a commitment to making ‘every journey better.’ The airport is home to more than 80 airlines and is Britain’s largest cargo port, helping to drive British trade growth by connecting the nation to more than 190 destinations around the world. Following an investment of more than £11 billion over the last 10 years, Heathrow is currently ranked by passengers as the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’ for the third year running and the ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ for eight years in a row.

* Nine airlines are operating A380 at Heathrow: British Airways, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways.

** Epinion: Independent agency surveying passengers arriving on A380 flights at Heathrow. 


Source : Airbus Website

Airbus reinforces its market lead in Asia-Pacific region

Airbus widebody family flight

Forecasted demand for more than 14,000 new aircraft over the next 20 years

Airbus further consolidated its market lead in the Asia-Pacific region in 2017, delivering 367 new aircraft to 50 operators across the region, either directly to airlines or via lessors. This accounted for over half of Airbus’ total deliveries worldwide (718 aircraft) during the year, reflecting the importance of Asia and the Pacific for the manufacturer. Deliveries to the region included almost 100 new widebody aircraft and marked the arrival of the long-range A350 XWB with three new Asian operators.

In 2017, Airbus also won the lion’s share of new business in the region, gaining 65 percent of the market with 100 new aircraft orders from seven customers. This brings the Airbus backlog in the region to more than 2,000 aircraft, corresponding to a third of the total backlog for the company.

The regional results and market forecast were presented by Eric Schulz, Airbus Executive Vice President, Chief of Sales, Marketing & Contracts, at a media briefing at the opening of the Singapore Airshow 2018.

“Accounting for one third of Airbus total backlog, one third of Airbus total orders and one third of the overall Airbus in-service fleet, there is no doubt that Asia-Pacific is a core market for Airbus,” said Schulz. “With traffic tripling over the next 20 years, and some of the highest growth rates, the Asia-Pacific region will by far be the world’s largest aviation market.”

“Airbus had an excellent year in Asia-Pacific in 2017,” continued Schulz, “and we see more potential in the coming years, in particular in the widebody market, where the region will account for 46 percent of total worldwide demand. Airbus is perfectly placed to meet this need, already holding 60 percent of the widebody backlog in the region and offering the most modern and complete widebody product line, with the A330neo, A350 XWB and of course the A380.”

According to the Airbus forecast, the Asia-Pacific region will see an annual increase in passenger traffic of 5.6 percent and will require some 14,450 new aircraft over the forecasted period. This represents more than 40 percent of global demand for almost 35,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

Airbus maintains a leading share in the Asia-Pacific region in both the single aisle and widebody markets. Today more than half of all single aisle aircraft flying in the region are A320 Family aircraft. The Airbus widebody family is especially successful in region, with almost 800 flying today and another 350 on order for future delivery, representing 60 percent of total widebody backlog in the region.

The A350 XWB is the new long-range leader in the Asia-Pacific region, where 14 airlines have placed orders for 287 aircraft. Eight carriers from the region are already flying the modern widebody on long range routes to Europe and the US. The A350-1000, nearing its first customer delivery in the coming weeks, will further consolidate the A350 XWB position. In 2018, Airbus will deliver the first A350-1000 for the region to Cathay Pacific, as well as the first A350 Ultra Long Range to Singapore Airlines.

* * *

Asia-Pacific 20-year market forecast – headline figures

•       5.6% annual growth in passenger traffic (global average 4.4%)

•       Traffic will triple in the next 20 years

•       Asia-Pacific fleet will grow from 6,100 today to almost 17,000

•       Demand for 14,450 new aircraft valued at USD 2.3 trillion

•       40% of total world demand for almost 35,000 aircraft over next 20 years

•       4,000 widebodies and 650 very large aircraft = 46% of global widebody demand (10,100)

•       9,800 single aisle aircraft = 40% of global single-aisle demand (24,800)


Source :  Airbus Website

Airbus A380 superjumbo could be even larger, with bigger wings

The Airbus A380 superjumbo may sprout extended wings as the European manufacturer intensifies studies into the addition of curved extensions aimed at reducing drag and boosting efficiency.

The so-called winglets, which on the A380 would each measure as much as 5 meters, could reduce fuel burn by up to 4 percent by dissipating the vortexes of rapidly spinning air created by the plane’s wings.

Airbus’s commercial aircraft chief Fabrice Bregier said Friday there’s a good chance that the company will opt to upgrade the smaller wingtip fences currently fitted on the A380.

The switch, together with improved engine efficiencies, could help win orders while avoiding the greater expense of a Neo upgrade featuring new turbines and changes to the double-decker’s airframe.

Airbus says ‘bo’ to the A380neo

“We will not launch an A380neo, there’s no business case now to do that, this is absolutely clear,” Bregier said.

“But it doesn’t prevent us from looking at what could be done to improve the performance of the aircraft. So having a little bit more efficiency from the engines is clearly an option, and looking at whether we could bring new winglets is also probably a good possibility.”

Adding the extensions would require only minor modifications to the A380’s wings, with no need to strengthen the center box where they join to the plane’s fuselage, Bregier said in an interview at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse, France. That was a cost the company sustained when adding winglets to its A320-series single-aisle planes.

Emirates interest

Enhancements to the A380 could help lure buyers after the world’s biggest passenger plane drew an order blank last year, and Airbus will only go ahead with the winglets upgrade if there is commercial interest, Bregier said.

Emirates, the biggest superjumbo customer, is in early talks over a deal for 20 more A380s, people familiar with the discussions said this week.

 The Dubai carrier told Bloomberg that while it has no plans for a purchase right now, it regularly engages with manufacturers on “product updates and enhancement.”

Didier Evrard, Airbus’s commercial programs chief, said studies into the winglets are progressing and stem from technological advancements as well as the need to make the A380 more efficient.

“Ten or 15 years ago we were not able to design winglets with the right balance or drag,” he said, adding that the existing wingtips “are not the most optimal part of the A380.”

The model was formally launched in December 2000, had its first flight in 2005, and entered commercial service with Singapore Airlines in 2007.

Even a 1 percent fuel saving would be significant for the superjumbo, which carries 200 metric tons of kerosene for a typical long-haul flight, according to Evrard, who on Monday said Airbus would need to consider slowing the A380 build rate to less than one jet a month without new contracts this year.

Rolls-Royce, which is supplying engines for the outstanding A380s from existing Emirates orders, could provide range and fuel-burn improvements for the Trent 900 turbine that it makes for the model. It referred questions about potential upgrades to Airbus.

As part of its push to make the superjumbo more attractive to airlines Airbus has also devised half a dozen cabin modifications in order to accommodate more than 80 additional seats.

The changes include removing an upper-deck stowage area, re-positioning the main staircase and moving to an 11-abreast layout on the main deck.


Source : Australian Business Travaller

Etihad rejigs Australian A380 services

Etihad is starting Airbus A380 service to Sydney from June 1. (Etihad)

Etihad Airways will add a second daily Airbus A380 flight to Sydney from the end of the October, but at the same time will downguage capacity on both its twice-daily Melbourne flights.

Under its northern hemisphere winter schedule, set to take effect from October 29, Etihad will upguage the current EY450/EY451 Abu Dhabi-Sydney-Abu Dhabi rotation from the 328-seat 777-300ER to the 496-seat A380.

“Sydney is one of our busiest and best performing long-haul routes where we have experienced increased demand, particularly in our premium cabins, since the launch 10 years ago,” Etihad Airways chief executive officer Peter Baumgartner said in a statement.

But at the same time, the Routes Online website reports that the current EY460/461 Abu Dhabi-Melbourne-Abu Dhabi A380 flights will be operated by the 777-300ER from October 29, while from the same date the current EY462/463 rotation will see two-class, 299-seat 787-9s replacing the 777-300ER.

Eithad first deployed the A380 on the Melbourne route from June last year.

Virgin Australia codeshares on Eithad’s flights to Abu Dhabi and beyond to points in Europe.

Etihad Abu Dhabi-Sydney schedule, effective October 29
Flight No. Origin Departs Destination Arrives Frequency Aircraft
EY450 Abu Dhabi 09:25 Sydney  06:15 +1 Daily A380
EY451 Sydney 16:20 Abu Dhabi 23:55 Daily A380
EY454 Abu Dhabi 22:15 Sydney 19:15 +1 Daily A380
EY455 Sydney 21:50 Abu Dhabi 05:40 +1 Daily A380

Source : Australian Aviation

Airbus develops package of new A380 Cabin Enablers, including “New Forward Stairs” option, for A380 customers

Improving the A380 economics and innovating in passenger comfort

Cabin space optimisation to accommodate around 80 additional seats

Freeing more cabin floor space for no compromise on comfort level

Bringing airline significant additional revenue.


Hamburg, Airbus is developing a full spectrum of new Cabin Enablers for customers of its flagship A380 airliner. The latest is the “New Forward Stairs” (NFS) option which was presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. Together these cabin enhancements will make this very efficient and comfortable airliner even better: Overall cabin optimisation is expected to result in the freeing-up more cabin floor space for around 80 additional passengers*. This would bring airlines significant additional revenues.

Dr. Kiran Rao, EVP of Strategy and Marketing at Airbus Commercial Aircraft said: “Continuous improvement of our products is our daily work. This new package for our A380 customers is a smart way to meet airline needs while improving the A380 economics with additional revenues and innovating in passenger comfort.” Dr. Rao added: “Only the A380 has the economies of scale and development potential to efficiently solve the problem of increasing congestion at large airports while providing the best comfort for passengers. The aircraft can also serve fast growing markets and airlines regional airports, so we are adapting the aircraft to meet evolving market needs.”

With this latest proposal of the NFS option, the package of new cabin enablers for the A380 now comprises the following:

New Forward Stairs – 20 more passengers (Business, Premium Economy & Economy Classes)

The NFS involves relocation of the forward stair from Door 1 to Door 2, and combining the entrance of the NFS to the upper deck (going up), with the adjacent staircase to the lower-deck crew-rest (going down). The NFS would make room for up to 20 additional passengers.

Combined Crew-Rest Compartment (CCRC) – three more passengers (Premium Economy)

For the CCRC, the existing flight-crew-rest (behind the cockpit in the mezzanine area at Door 1) is moved down and combined with the cabin crew rest on the lower deck. This innovation frees space for three extra Premium-Economy passengers at the front of the main-deck.

11-abreast 3-5-3 economy layout on the main-deck – 23 more passengers (Economy Class)

Thanks to an innovative seating concept developed by Airbus and its seating partners, Airbus is able to maintain an 18inch seat-width while offering airlines an 11-abreast Economy Class on the main-deck in a ‘3-5-3’ configuration. This enables an increase in capacity of 23 seats – adding significantly to the A380’s revenue-generating potential.

New Aft-Galley Stair Module (AGSM) – 14 more passengers + two food trolleys

The AGSM involves the redesign of the rear-stair from a spiral agreement to a straight/square one. On the main-deck, this allows valuable storage volume for galley modules. Overall the AGSM provides space for 14 more revenue passengers plus two extra food trolleys.

Upper-deck sidewall stowage removal – 10 more passengers (Business Class)

The option to remove the sidewall stowages on the upper-deck increases the wall-to-wall cabin width at foot-rest height – which makes space for up to 10 more business class seats / beds when an angled herring-bone arrangement is used.

Nine-abreast Premium Economy on the main deck – 11 more passengers (Premium Economy)

The A380’s generous main-deck cross section – significantly wider than any other commercial airliner – is allowing seat manufacturers to optimise their Premium Economy (PE) seat designs to create the industry’s most efficient and comfortable PE layout possible. This layout enables 11 more PE seats than in an eight-abreast layout.

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of €67billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

Note for Editors:

497 passengers is the airline’s average capacity of the A380s currently in operation today – which are consistently attracting above-average passenger load factors. With all these A380 cabin enablers, the A380 seat count would move from 497 to 575 in four classes, and generate significantly more revenue for airlines.

Source : Airbus Website

Qantas CEO confirms Airbus A380 seat upgrade

Qantas CEO confirms Airbus A380 seat upgrade

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has confirmed that the airline’s flagship Airbus A380 fleet will be upgraded with new seats.

The much-anticipated refresh would likely see the superjumbo fitted with similar seats to the airline’s Boeing 787-9 fleet in business class, premium economy and economy.

Speaking at a press conference for the airline’s July-December financial result – which saw Qantas record a pretax profit of $852 million – Joyce said “we are (currently) working through our plans for upgrading the A380.”

Joyce described such upgrades as typically taking place “when aircraft get to middle of their life… so you can expect over next year or so for us to comment on where this is going and when it will happen. But it will happen.”

PREVIOUS | Qantas could begin upgrading its Airbus A380 fleet as early as 2018, with the superjumbos seeing new seats from tip to tail in order to sharpen their competitive edge on routes to the USA and London.

The airlines is believed to be planning an extensive A380 refurbishment program to fit the latest-generation seats created for the Qantas Boeing 787-9 – or a future evolution of same – to the double-decker jets.

It’s notable that by the time Qantas’ first Boeing 787-9 arrives in October 2017, the airline’s original Airbus A380 will be close to ten years old – the point at which airlines typically begin a mid-life refresh for their largest jets.

Qantas’ twelve superjumbos were delivered between September 2008 and December 2011, and the make-over could co-incide with their scheduled ‘heavy maintenance’ checks.

The upgrade would give the A380s a new lease of life for another 10-12 years, at which point they are likely to be retired in favour of next-gen aircraft such as the Boeing 777-X series (below) as Qantas moves to a new strategy of long-range non-stop flights.

The biggest winners from the A380 upgrade would be corporate travellers, with business class going from the current Skybed II seats with their lack of storage space and cramped 2-2-2 layout…

… to the Dreamliner Business Suite, which like the A330 Business Suite offers copious personal space, a massive 16 inch video screen and direct aisle access for every passenger.

The Skybed pods are a clear generation behind the business class curve and on US routes, for example, pale by comparison with Virgin Australia’s Boeing 777 business class…

… that of Qantas’ own partner American Airlines…

… United Airline’s forthcoming Boeing 787 Polaris business class…

… and potentially Delta’s Airbus A350 Delta One suites.

Qantas’ Boeing 787’s economy seats – with their 12 inch screens, inbuilt iPad stands and AC and USB power sockets – are also expected to make their way onto the A380’s lower deck.

Qantas would also replace today’s A380 premium economy seats with Dreamliner’s all-new premium economy seats.

A revamp of the A380’s first class cabin is also on the cards, although it’s not known if Qantas will settle for a touch-up of today’s first class, a total transformation to an all-new suite or strike somewhere in-between.

Qantas may also use the upgrade period to add inflight Internet and WiFi across the A380 fleet so that travellers can fire up their laptop, tablet or smartphone to tap into a high-speed satellite connection.