A "brilliant" send-off for Qantas' no. 1 A380
Airbus today commemorated the handover of Qantas' first A380 with a dazzling light show held at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France. The Australian carrier becomes the third international airline to add Airbus' 21st century flagship to its fleet.
"There are few airlines in the world as qualified as Qantas to be aviation pioneers," said Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders, who spoke at the evening event. "Qantas uses its experience as one of the great trendsetters in world aviation to keep pushing the boundaries, and it was quite natural they would be the first to conclude a contract to buy the A380."
Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon praised the A380, calling it the most innovative, most functional and most intelligent aircraft in the sky.
"We recognised the operational and economic advantages that the A380 could deliver long before they were rather dramatically illustrated by the escalating cost of fuel," said Dixon. "And we certainly knew that the A380 would give us the opportunity to reinvent our on-board product consistent with our tradition of being a very competent long-haul carrier."
To commemorate the formal handover, Enders presented Dixon with a limited-edition A380 pen, while Rolls-Royce Chairman Simon Robertson bestowed a laser etching of the Trent 900 engine encased in glass on a walnut base.
"We at Rolls-Royce appreciate the opportunity once again to be an integral player in shaping the future success of Qantas, Australia's iconic carrier and one of the world's leading airlines," said Robertson, whose company supplies the Trent 900 engines that power Qantas' A380.
The evening's event concluded with a unique light show using the parked A380 as a backdrop, superimposing complex colour schemes, videos of the aircraft's production process and images of Australian landmarks on the aircraft's fuselage, wings and engines.
Following tonight's ceremony, the A380 was to depart Toulouse for Sydney, making an in-route stopover at Singapore. Qantas is scheduled to begin A380 commercial service in the second half of October, flying from Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles on the American west coast.