With British Airways expecting to receive the last of the dozen Airbus A380 superjumbos it has on order in 2016, the airline is busy working to make the most of its investment by steadily expanding the number of destinations the double-decker aircraft will serve.
As the centrepiece of a £5-billion investment in new aircraft, the Airbus A380 double-decker superjumbo has been a head-turning addition to British Airways' (BA's) fleet at Heathrow for a couple of years now, but the journey that began when the first long-haul flight on the A380 left for Los Angeles in September 2013 still has further to run, with the airline continuing to take delivery of the world's largest commercial jet as well as adding further routes.
BA recently took ownership of its tenth A380, having originally ordered a total of 12 of the superjumbos for delivery by 2016.
The airline has now also started flying the double-decker to Miami, taking the number of routes served by the aircraft to seven, with Hong Kong, Johannesburg, San Francisco, Singapore - which in November saw flight frequency increase to daily from three times a week - Washington DC and Los Angeles, being the others.
Speaking ahead of the addition of the new route, Lynne Embleton, British Airways' director of strategy, said: "British Airways' A380 services have proved to be really popular with our customers, and we are confident that Miami will be equally successful."
As part of BA's investment in innovation as it bids to stay competitive is a growing fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, making the company the first airline in Europe to operate the A380 as well as the Dreamliner. The first Dreamliner arrived in 2013. In total, 42 are on order, with those already in operation flying to Austin, Calgary, Chengdu, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Montreal, Philadelphia, Seoul and Toronto.
The A380 accommodates 469 passengers across four cabins, while customers in one of 14 first-class seats in the front of the main deck benefit from 30% more personal space and 60% more personal stowage than BA could offer previously. Those in Club World, BA's business class, can choose from 44 seats on the main deck or 53 seats on the upper deck.
The aircraft is much quieter during take-off and landing than a Boeing 747, the plane it replaces, as well as 16% more fuel efficient. It also has bigger overhead bins, extra storage space, cleaner air, mood lighting and more power sockets for personal electronic equipment.
"These aircraft are the start of a new era for British Airways," says British Airways CEO Keith Williams, adding that they will put BA at the forefront of modern aviation.
A380 aircraft features
- The only commercial aircraft with two full-length (wide-body) decks.
- Main deck is the widest of any aircraft and nearly 60cm wider than the Boeing 747.
- 16% more fuel efficient than the Boeing 747.
- Quietest cabin of any existing passenger aircraft type.
- Air-conditioning system features advanced filters and allows 15 different temperature control zones.
- Cabin air is changed every three minutes.
A380 facilities in first class
- Suites offer 30% more personal space and 60% more personal stowage (including a larger in-suite wardrobe per customer to hold a wheelie bag and a side stowage box for smaller items) than first-class suites on other BA aircraft.
- Ergonomic seats convert into fully flat 6ft-6in beds.
- 15.4in personal in-flight entertainment touch screen and noise-cancelling headphones are provided.
- Personal in-seat power socket provides 110VAC power compatible with UK, US and EU plugs.
- Two USB sockets provide power for personal devices.
- Customers are offered BA's turndown service: cabin crew will make up customers' beds using a crisp white mattress, duvet, pillow and nightwear.
- Amenity kits with premium skincare products are provided.
- Fine-dining, à la carte and flexible dining options are on offer, alongside a wide selection of wines, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Champagne supper, including a choice of three variations of champagne and an à la carte menu featuring lighter meals than the standard menu, is available on departures after 10pm.