Qantas Takes First A380

 - September 22, 2008, 7:45 AM

Airbus delivered to Australia’s Qantas its first of 20 A380 superjumbos during ceremonies held on Friday at Airbus’ delivery center in Toulouse, France. Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO, and John Leahy, Airbus COO for customers, handed over the the Rolls-Royce-powered double-decker to Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon and Qantas CEO-designate Alan Joyce.

Qantas plans to launch its first commercial A380 services on October 20 from Melbourne to Los Angeles, and on October 24 from Sydney to Los Angeles. Later Qantas also plans to fly the A380 to Singapore and London.

Internationally renowned designer Marc Newson designed Qantas’ A380 cabin. Typically the A380 seats 525 passengers in three-classes; Qantas’ cabin, however, holds just 450 seats (14 first, 72 business, 32 premium Economy and 332 economy).

Qantas became the first customer to conclude the signing of a contract for the A380. In November 2000, it ordered 12 A380s, marking the first time in the airline’s long history it had ordered Airbus aircraft. Qantas later increased its order for A380s to 20, and now ranks as the second largest customer for the world’s largest commercial aircraft.