The A380 makes a big impression during its U.S. debut
The A380 has completed a highly successful series of route proving flights, underscoring the aircraft's ability to operate at gateways around the world - while also generating excitement that comes with the introduction of a new way to fly.
These latest evaluations involved the participation of A380 customer Lufthansa and were focused primarily on the United States, with the aircraft making visits to New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The A380 was given an enthusiastic welcome at each of the American stopovers, and it provided impressive demonstrations of the aircraft's low noise levels, excellent manoeuvrability and interoperability with various airport runways, taxiways and terminal facilities.
The 12-day commercial route proving missions began with a typical trans-Atlantic crossing for Lufthansa - departing its Frankfurt hub airport on 19 March for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. The A380 carried more than 400 passengers, touching down to cheers and applause at one of America's busiest airports.
In the following days, the A380 performed a New York-Chicago roundtrip, an eastbound Atlantic return crossing to Frankfurt, and a long-range flight to Hong Kong. Arriving back at Frankfurt on 25 March, ground crews made a realistic airline turnaround of the aircraft in 95 minutes, readying the A380 for its departure to Washington, D.C. This important demonstration highlighted the A380's ability to be processed rapidly at the worldâ€™s gateway airports, including deplaning and boarding, fuelling, cabin preparation and aircraft servicing.
The A380's third Atlantic crossing in seven days brought the aircraft to Washington's Dulles International Airport for a 26-hour visit that included a low-altitude fly-past of the U.S. nation's capital - placing the 21st century flagship in view of thousands of office workers and tourists. Wrapping up the route proving was a final trans-Atlantic segment from Washington to Frankfurt, followed by a domestic flight to Munich and an intra-European return to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.
These operations were complemented by the 19 March long-range flight of A380 MSN no. 1 from Toulouse to Los Angeles International Airport. The visit enabled Qantas Airways and the Los Angeles airport authority to perform functionality and compatibility checks in preparation for the Australian carrier's future A380 introduction on its trans-Pacific service.
See our special mini-site for day-by-day reports on the A380's commercial route proving operations, including feature stories, photos and video clips.