Friday, October 12, 2007

Airbus A380 Superjumbo Jet Arrives in Manila

"Get off my bus...err, plane!"
Photo by Paolo V. Guinto, PFSG

For the first time ever, the world's largest airliner - the Airbus A380 - touched down at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, Philippines at about 2:45 PM October 11 (Manila time). The visit is part of it's route proving flight in Asia to show that the mammoth aircraft can be accommodated at existing airports without the need for special modifications.

The "Superjumbo" aircraft dwarfed other commercial airliners parked nearby runway 24 where it made a smooth landing according to visiting planespotters from the Philippine Flight Simmers Group (PFSG) at the Philippine Skies Forums. Mon, a PFSG member said that it was "a pretty quiet plane for its size."

The MSN009 A380 test flight is now at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (Clark International) and will depart for Dubai on October 13.

Here is a video of the A380 landing in the Philippines.

There were discussions on whether the international airport in Manila can hold the enormous weight of the A380. During initial flight tests, the A380's take-off weight was recorded at over 420 tonnes. The aircraft is measured for a maximum take-off weight of 650 metric tonnes. In this instance, the 3,737 meter long runway 24 at Manila withstood the burden of the massive eight-storeys high flying machine.

Airbus (aka Airbus, S.A.S), is a subsidiary of European Aeronautic Defence and Space company (EADS, N.V.) based in Toulousse, France. Development of the A380 began as early as the 1990's. It was destined to rival the dominance of Boeing's 747 in the large commercial jet airliner category. Moreover, the A380 is Airbus' anticipated response to the projected doubling of demand for air travel in the coming years.

Said to be "cleaner, greener, quieter and smarter", the A380-800 model comes in 2 double-deck configurations. The standard three-class design can carry 525 people while the full-economy configuration can hold up to 853 passengers. In contrast, the Boeing 747-8 carries up to 467 people just a little more than half that of A380's capacity at full-economy mode. The A380 is designed to fly non-stop from Hong Kong to New York with a maximum capacity of 310,000 liters of jet fuel.

Airbus encountered numerous delays in the production of the A380. Currently 17 airlines have a total 165 orders for the aircraft. Airbus projects to break-even at 420 units. The first official delivery of the A380 is scheduled on October 15 for Singapore Airlines.

You can watch the live stream of the delivery at

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