Last night British Airways released photos of its first A380 as it left the paint-shop in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft is the first of 12 that the airline has ordered and, after final tests, will be delivered to British Airways in July. The aircraft will first see operational service on short-haul flights (no details yet but likely to be Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt & Amsterdam) so as to familiarise crew. It will then go into full service in October, operating the ‘Red Carpet’ route between Heathrow and Los Angeles. In November, the second destination to receive the A380 will be Hong Kong.
British Airways have not announced any further destinations for the aircraft although we are guessing at Shanghai, Beijing, Johannesburg, San Francisco and perhaps Singapore / Sydney. Delhi & Mumbai would also have been on the list but the A380 is prohibited from flying to India because of the country’s absurd protectionist policies (ie no Indian airline has ordered the A380 and both they and the government are afraid that they might lose out!). Due to the length of these flights, in order to operate a daily service airlines need 2 aircraft per destination which essentially means that with 12 aircraft, British Airways will only be able to serve 6 destinations.
Detailed below is the layout of British Airways A380 which will seat some 469 passengers, significantly less than on Air France (516) & Lufthansa (526) but more than Korean Airlines (407), the airline with the lowest seat density for the A380.
British Airways will feature all 4 of its cabins on the A380 and, as you can see, will split both World Traveller & Club World between the upper and lower decks. As the upper deck is narrower, both World Traveller and Club World will have 1 less seat on the upper deck compared to the lower deck. It therefore seems likely that this will the most popular option for passengers and therefore full of Executive Club members!