Airbus enjoys hub success with A380
By Kevin Rozario
Almost five years after it entered service, the A380 has transformed airports across the world and, despite the costs, hubs are seeing its value
The first A380 for Thai Airways International is almost ready to roll out of Airbuss plant in Hamburg, Germany, for delivery in September and with another five on order, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport is said to be ready to accommodate the wide-bodied fleet, having handled Emirates A380 flights from Dubai since 2009. Five contact gates at the airport have been set up for the aircraft with a further three remote gates available.
The readiness of Suvarnabhumi was built into its development planning and the gates were there for its opening in 2006. Although, more established airports have had to retro-design to add the infrastructure needed to house the A380, Airbus Product Marketing Manager A380 Thomas Bürger told IHS Janes the company is very happy with the preparations that airports have made to accommodate the aircraft to date.
He added From the first route in October 2007 [Singapore-Sydney with Singapore Airlines], the A380 network now consists of 62 routes to 29 destinations. This includes declared services for 2012 as well as initial destinations for Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines when they take delivery this year. Another 20 or so airports are either ready today or actively preparing for A380 operations in the next few years, Bürger said. One million passengers now fly on the aircraft each month, and by mid-2012 it will be operating at eight North American and eight European cities, all of which are ranked in the top 20 international gateways. To put this in context, about 80 per cent of all B-747 aircraft operations have been concentrated into 40 or so airports globally. In Europe, only Madrid, London Gatwick and Istanbul do not handle the A380.299 words
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