A380 heads for Sydney on final leg of its inaugural commercial flightNovember 14th, 2007 - 2:48 am ICT by admin
The aircraft will return to Singapore on Friday, news.com.au reported.
The take-off was watched by hundreds of airport staff and passengers who gathered in the airport lounge with their pocket cameras and camera phones.
Singapore Airlines chief Choo Choon Seng in a pre-flight ceremony at Changi airport officially launched the giant aircraft today.
“This is a new milestone in the timeline of aviation,” he said.
Passengers aboard the flight include 38-year-old Sydney resident Julian Hayward who paid 100,000 American dollarsfor a first class seat and American Thomas Lee, who was also aboard the inaugural Boeing 747 flight in 1970.
Ernest Graaff, another A380 passenger, paid 44,000 dollars for two business-class tickets on the jet.
“I’m excited about being a part of history,” he said.
Austrian Georg Burdicek paid 625 dollars for his economy seat, the cheapest one sold during the auction, The Straits Times reported.
Airbus’ new aircraft - which boasts two passenger decks and, in Singapore Airlines’ version, first-class suites with proper beds - suffered two years of delays caused by wiring glitches, which pushed the plane maker into a loss and led to 10,000 lost jobs.
The production problems and subsequent delay embarrassed Airbus, a bitter rival of US firm Boeing, and some analysts have warned that the gigantic aircraft - which can fit 72 cars on each wing - is a “white elephant”.
But others say the behemoth, which can haul 853 passengers in all-economy mode, is about to revolutionise the aviation industry.
SIA’s version has 399 economy seats, 60 business seats, and a “suites” class of 12 compartments with flat-screen televisions about the size of a briefcase, sheets by French designer Givenchy and a full-length bed behind sliding doors.
After today’s inaugural flight, a regular service between Singapore and Sydney will begin on Sunday.
Superjumbo service on the Singapore-London route would start in February, and Japan could come later, according to SIA executives. (ANI)
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