BA Superjumbo Touches Down At Heathrow

But HACAN warns advantages of quieter planes would be lost if third runway built

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Airport campaign group HACAN has welcomed the arrival of the first British Airways’ 'superjumbo', the Airbus A380, but warns that the advantages of quieter aircraft will be lost if a third runway is built.

The British Airways plane which landed yesterday at 10.30am from Toulouse, is expected to be the first of many A380s to use Heathrow which has had special hangers built to accommodate the aircraft which can seat 469 passengers.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, said: “While we welcome quieter aircraft, all the advantages they bring will disappear if a third runway is built because the huge increase in flight numbers will off-set the benefits of the quieter planes.”

"At present annual flight numbers at Heathrow are capped at 480,000. A third runway would result in more than 700,000 planes using the airport each year"

  Heathrow Airport is expected to reveal proposals for a third runway on 17 th July when it publishes its submission to the Airports Commission which the Government has set up to look at airport capacity in London and the South East.

It was the second new double decker in the past fortnight to arrive at Heathrow and came on a special delivery flight from the factory in France. The airline has ordered 12 of the £260m jets which will come into service this autumn and which can carry 469 passengers ranging from First to World Traveller.

The first flights are expected to be made between London and Hong Kong, and London and Los Angeles.

The arrival of the A380 - the world’s largest passenger aircraft, which produces half the noise of its nearest rival when taking off - is another milestone in the move to host quieter aircraft at Heathrow, according to the airport authorities.

Keith Williams, British Airways’ chief executive, said: “Over the next 15 months we will take delivery of new aircraft at the rate of one a fortnight as we put ourselves at the forefront of modern aviation. The A380 is a fantastic aircraft and an excellent showpiece for British engineering. Our customers are going to love the space, light and comfort on board.”

“They are more fuel efficient and there’s a substantial noise improvement which is important for flights arriving early in the morning from Hong Kong.”

Special hangers have had to be built at Heathrow to accommodate the huge plane.

BA is the fifth airline to fly A380s out of Heathrow, with 12 superjumbo flights a day operating out of the airport. The airline this week also took delivery of the first two of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the ultra-light plane that was ground for months after launch due to technical troubles.

The airport already hosts twelve A380s, and expects to have approximately thirty A380s and approximately sixty B787s by 2020. Strict noise limits at the airport also mean that airlines generally use their quietest aircraft around 15 per cent more on Heathrow routes.


July 4, 2013