The delivery of Qantas' first A380 marks the start of a new era for the Australian-based carrier, according to Chief Executive Officer Geoff Dixon.
At a press conference ahead of this evening's A380 handover at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, Dixon told journalists that the A380 ticks every box for Qantas and its customers, for passenger comfort, range, environmental concerns and yield.
The A380 will be 20 to 25 per cent more efficient than existing aircraft in the Qantas fleet, he continued, adding that the airline was already in talks to increase its total order, which currently stands at 20 aircraft even before the first one had entered service.
"We watched the A380's introduction by Singapore Airlines and couldn't be more pleased about the results," he said. "Expanding our order shows our commitment to the aircraft."
The first Qantas A380 is named after 92 year-old Australian aviation pioneer Nancy Bird-Walton who gained her commercial pilot's licence at the age of just 19. Nancy, who flew an air ambulance service in the 1930s in New South Wales, will attend a special naming ceremony for the aircraft in Sydney on 30 September.
Describing the Qantas A380 as the perfect aircraft for long-haul travel, Geoff said that Qantas is confident the A380 will give it a real competitive advantage long into the future.
Speaking alongside him was Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders, who thanked Geoff Dixon and Qantas for their faith in the A380 right from the start.
"Geoff was the first to really sign up for the A380 back in 2000," Enders said. "And he held fast to his belief that this aircraft was right for the future of Qantas. I am really looking forward to seeing Qantas A380s roaming the skies over the Asia Pacific region."