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"Airbus urges airports in Asia to accommodate super jumbo jet A380"

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Airbus urges airports in Asia to accommodate super jumbo jet A380
Thai Press Reports

The European aircraft producer, Airbus, has warned airports in the region to
prepare to accommodate the new super jumbo jets being bought by many
airlines in Asia and the Pacific, including Thai Airways International, The
Nation reports.

At least six major carriers in the region have ordered the huge Airbus A380
jets, which can carry 555 passengers in three classes. Singapore Airlines,
which has ordered 10 of the giants, will be the first major carrier to get
the aircraft, by the second half of next year.

Airbus said airports which could currently accommodate the Boeing 747-400,
the largest commercial aircraft now in operation, would be able to serve
A380s as well, but would need to expand the runway shoulders to provide
safety for the wings and engines.

Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is scheduled to open in time to
receive the first A380s, has been designed with the super jumbos in mind.

The A380's wingspan is almost 80 metres, and grass and dust spilled beside
the taxiways and runways of older airports could be sucked into the engines
and cause damage, said Airbus's senior technical marketing analyst,
Emmanuelle Aygat.

She said the wingspan of the A380 was about 16 metres wider than that of the
Boeing 747-400. The super jumbo was 2.1 metres longer, 4.7 metres taller and
95.2 tonnes heavier than the 747-400, but required about the same runway
length. The A380's maximum take-off and landing weights were 560 and 386
tonnes respectively.

Aygat claimed that the A380 would provide 15 to 20 per cent lower operating
costs than the largest aircraft flying today, as well as 10 to 15 per cent
greater range, lower fuel usage, less noise and lower emissions.

She said it would be the first long-haul aircraft capable of consuming less
than three litres of fuel per passenger over 100 kilometres, a rate
comparable to an economical family car.

The super jumbo A380 also offered the benefit of commonality with the rest
of the very large aircraft sector.

Airbus officials said the A380 would be cost-efficient in the current
environment of high fuel prices. It would succeed because it was designed to
meet the need to carry massive numbers of passengers on long hauls between
the big air hubs of the world.

Thai Airways International ordered six A380-800s last August and expects to
have them in service in 2008 or 2009. The giant aircraft cost US$250 million
(Bt10.27 billion) each.

Qantas, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines and China Southern Airlines have also
ordered Airbus A380s.

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