Thu, Apr 27, 2006
The Whalejet Comes To England
The world's largest
airliner continues its globetrotting ways, with the news the A380
is set to make its debut in the United Kingdom next month. The
555-seat airliner is due to fly into Heathrow on May 18, after a
stop at the Berlin Air Show.
While at Heathrow, the A380 will be used to conduct airport
compatibility checks at the airport's new Pier 6 at Terminal 3,
which was designed to handle the larger aircraft.
The Guardian reports the Brits have a significant stake in the
A380. For starters, the plane's wings are manufactured by Britain's
BAE Systems, in a plant where workers are concerned that BAE's
recent sale of its stock in Airbus will result in job
losses. Also, Rolls-Royce's Trent 900 engine is
currently the only powerplant available for the superjumbo.
Those are but two of the estimated 400 companies throughout the
UK that are contributing to the A380 program. At least 22,000 of
the estimated 140,000 direct and indirect jobs in the UK generated
by Airbus result from the A380, according to the Guardian --
including jobs at two Airbus UK facilities near Bristol, and at
Broughton in North Wales.
Their have been 159 firm orders for the A380 to date, with the
first two planes due to be delivered to Singapore Airlines at the
end of this year. The carrier is expected to choose Heathrow as the
plane's first European destination.
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic is also expected to take
delivery of its first A380 sometime in 2007.
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