The global basing of Airbus’ 21st century flagship is extending to China with the delivery of China Southern Airlines’ initial A380 during a special ceremony in Toulouse, France today, which was based on the theme: “Pearl of the sky.”
China’s biggest carrier has five A380s on order, and will introduce service with its no. 1 aircraft later this month between the major Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou – to be followed by operations on international routes.
This was the 58th A380 delivered to date by Airbus, making China Southern Airlines the seventh operator to receive the world’s largest passenger jetliner since revenue flights began in October 2007. To date, A380s have flown more than 350,000 hours and carried over 15 million passengers.
“Four years of operation show that airlines who fly the A380 increase capacity, gain market share and improve load factors – with an A380 now taking off or landing every 15 minutes,” explained Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders during today’s ceremony.
Enders said the A380 is well suited for the development of China’s air transport sector – with the country’s growing wealth and urbanization creating a demand for more than 200 such very large aircraft by 2030. “Our forecast shows China will remain one of the fastest growing aviation markets for the next 20 years,” he continued. “As China’s first A380 operator and customer, China Southern is getting a head start against the competition.”
The other carriers with A380s currently in their fleets are Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Air France, Lufthansa and Korean Air. These aircraft are meeting their performance specifications while serving 25 major cities worldwide, including flights that link the Middle East and Europe to Beijing and Shanghai in China.
· For additional information, photos and video clips from today’s milestone delivery of China Southern Airlines’ no. 1 A380 at the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, see a380delivery.com/china-southern