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A380 Superjumbo Makes First U.S. Flight

March 19, 2007

A380 Superjumbo Makes First U.S. Flight
March 19, 2007 –The A380 will make its first flight to North America today. With a wingspan wider than a football field and space for more than 500 passengers, the superjumbo aircraft was built by Airbus and German airline Lufthansa AG, who are hoping to attract U.S. buyers and show off to potential U.S. airports.

"We’re talking about an airplane that is representing aviation in the 21st century in terms of efficiency," said Jens Bischoff, Lufthansa’s vice president for the Americas.

An air show began early Monday at Frankfurt International Airport when the plane took off as Lufthansa Flight 8940 for the eight hour flight to New York’s JFK Airport, scheduled to land at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Onboard were 483 people, including four pilots, four Airbus crew members, 23 Lufthansa cabin crew and several hundred passengers, mostly Airbus and Lufthansa employees along with some reporters. The flight will operate just as if it were a commercial one with full dining and entertainment services.

According to MSNBC, after the inaugural run, Lufthansa and Airbus will operate a demonstration flight to Chicago O’Hare Airport on Tuesday, before returning to New York and then Frankfurt. The plane will then head to Hong Kong and back, before continuing its journey to Washington Dulles International Airport on March 25, with a final stop at Lufthansa’s Munich hub on March 28.

The performance results from this circuit hope to match the A380’s turnaround time from landing to takeoff with that of much smaller long-haul jets already in operation. The plane burns about one gallon of gas per passenger every 80 miles and can fly some 8,000 nautical miles.

"The airports seeing the A380 this week and next are among the key future destinations for the A380 and following these flights, these hubs will prove themselves ready, willing and able to welcome the A380 for service," said Airbus salesman John Leahy.

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