After years of waiting, the first of British Airways 12 A380s on order finally arrived at Heathrow airport this morning.
To celebrate the arrival, British Airways took industry observers and frequent flyers somewhat by surprise by announcing that scheduled flights would begin earlier than previously indicated. Flights to Los Angeles, which were scheduled to commence on 15th October now start on 24th September, while flights to Hong Kong, which were meant to commence on 15th November, now start on 22nd October. Whether passengers who had booked for the original dates will be allowed to change their bookings is unclear.
Until the aircraft go into full operational service, they will first undergo further testing and trials at both Heathrow and Manston airport in Kent. They will then be used for crew familiarisation training on short-haul flights to Europe before finally being let loose on their scheduled long-haul flights.
So far, British Airways haven’t announced any further, future destinations for the A380 although the next 2 aircraft may simply be used on the same routes, thereby allowing the airline to offer daily services.
The airline’s fleet of A380s will join 12 existing flights a day at Heathrow – 2 from Qantas, 2 from Malaysia Airlines, 3 from Singapore Airlines and 5 from Emirates. Thai Airways had recently announced that it would be commencing A380 services this December but then, within a matter of weeks, announced a ‘delay’ until October 2014 at the earliest.