British Airways A380

The British Airways A380 will rise majestically into the sky for its first long haul flight on Tuesday 24 September at 4:15pm on the BA269 to the city of angels. It will be the first and only A380 aircraft to operate between London and Los Angeles. Champagne all round!

British Airways A380 Launch

British Airways A380 in flight

Cruising

British Airways has, this morning, made a number of announcements regards new and existing routes.

The only new route is to Austin, Texas which British Airways will start flying to from 3rd March. Initially, flights will operate 5 times a week before going daily from 5th May. British Airways already serve Houston & Dallas on a daily basis.

British Airways aircraft parked in front of Heathrow Terminal 5Also in the US, flights between Heathrow and Seattle will increase from 10 to 11 flights per week as of 30th March while flights to Newark will decrease from 21 to 20 flights per week at the same time.

In Africa, British Airways have announced an additional 3 weekly services between Heathrow and Accra, Ghana, taking the number of weekly services to 10. The new flights will commence from 27th October and will depart Heathrow on Tuesday, Friday & Sunday. The new services will be operated by a 767-300 with a 3 class configuration while the existing 777-200 service will switch to a 747-400 from 30th March 2014. This much anticipated increase in capacity to Ghana follows on from Virgin Atlantic’s earlier announcement that they were withdrawing from the route.

KampalaAlso in Africa, British Airways will be increasing the frequency of flights between Heathrow and Entebbe, Uganda from 3 to 4 flights per week. Flights will now depart Heathrow every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday, returning to the UK the following day. The new flights and times commence from 30th March.

Unfortunately British Airways have also announced the suspension of services between Heathrow & Lusaka from the end of October. The last flight will depart Heathrow on Friday 25th October, returning on Saturday 26th October.

In Asia, British Airways will increase flight frequency between Heathrow and Seoul from 6 to 7 flights per week from 1st April.

Slightly nearer to home, flights to Tel Aviv decrease from 21 to 14 flights per week and switch to Terminal 5 from the 29th March. Although there will be 7 flights less per week, the BA 165/164 service will be upgraded to much larger 777-200 featuring all 4 cabins.

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On Friday morning, British Airways flew its first fare paying passengers on the new A380.

British Airways daily flight BA 902 from Heathrow to Frankfurt, departing at just after 07:00, is usually operated by a somewhat ageing 767. Passengers arriving for their flight yesterday morning were therefore somewhat surprised to find themselves boarding the airline’s brand new A380.

Less than 150 passengers were onboard the flight, somewhat short of the aircraft’s 469 seating capacity, and only the downstairs section of the aircraft was utilised.

In keeping with other airlines, British Airways has opted to use the new A380 on a series of short-haul flights so at to familiarise crew with the new aircraft. These ‘test’ flights will continue throughout August and into September before the first scheduled flights commence to Los Angeles on 24th September. Following on from Los Angeles, British Airways will commence A380 services to Hong Kong in October and Johannesburg in early 2014. In total the airline has placed orders for 12 A380s.

British Airways chose Frankfurt for the test flight partly because the airport is already well used to receiving the A380 but also, one imagines, as a way of promoting itself in a key market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After years of waiting, the first of British Airways 12 A380s on order finally arrived at Heathrow airport this morning.

British Airways first A380 on tarmacTo 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.