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DECEMBER 2009 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
been primarily operating on the Sydney
and Melbourne to Los Angeles route, as
well as Sydney-Singapore-London where
Qantas competes directly with A380 serv-
ices by Singapore Airlines and indirectly
with Emirates's A380s.
Since its entry into ser vice, more than
370,000 passengers have flown on Qantas's
A380s, with the fleet having completed
over 12,000 flying hours and more than
1240 cycles. "Our A380 experience has
been exceptional -- both from operational
and customer perspectives," said group
executive Qantas Airlines commercial Rob
Gurney. "Our customers and our employ-
ees are excited about the aircraft and our
expectations have been more than met."
In Qantas's operations, the A380 is con-
figured with 450-seats, comprising 14 first
class suites, 72 business class skybeds, 32
premium economy seats and 332 economy
seats. With such a focus on business and
first, Qantas has the least dense configura-
tions of any A380 operator so far, although
they still carry nearly 50 per cent more pas-
sengers than its four-class 747-400s.
" e A380 is our new international flag-
ship and the cornerstone of our new gen-
eration product offering. Our configuration
reflects this and the fact that we operate the
aircraft on long haul routes where comfort
and product differentiation are important
considerations," said Gurney.
And even in the current international
travel downturn, Qantas says that the aircraft
is extracting a yield premium, with higher
demand on flights operated by the A380.
"Because it hasn't been operating daily,
people are actually changing their travel pat-
terns to travel on the aircraft, so it does have
that revenue advantage over the 747 services
operating around that aircraft," said Joyce.
While Qantas has celebrated one year
of its A380 operations, major competitor
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has chalked up
over two years of service with the type and
now operates a fleet of 10.
SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides told
Australian Aviation that the A380 has con-
tinued to perform well in ser vice with the
airline, after experiencing a smooth entry
into service back in 2007. "We are very
pleased with the performance of the A380,"
he said. "Very few technical problems have
been encountered. In fact, its entry into
service has been the smoothest of any new
aircraft type, ever.
" ere were some issues during the
initial period of operation, but the maturity
program prior to EIS provided invaluable
"Very few technical
problems have been
encountered. In fact, its
entry into service has
been the smoothest of any
new aircraft type, ever."
flight test data which helped our teams in
tackling and managing some of the teeth-
ing problems faced during the early period.
" e dispatch reliability has remained at
a high level, albeit with a few cancellations,
given that the aircraft was operated within
very tight schedules and with high daily
utilisation of more than 13 hours."
Currently, SIA operates the A380 to
Sydney, Melbourne, London, Tokyo, Paris,
and Hong Kong, and demand remains
strong, with load factors across the A380
network over 80 per cent. "On routes where
we have multiple daily frequencies like
London Heathrow, Sydney, Hong Kong
and Tokyo, the A380 flights are by far the
most popular," Ionides said.
Although SIA's aircraft have 471-seats,
21 more than the Qantas A380s, they
do have some plush interior features,
such as 12 full bed suites in the first class
cabin, while its 60 business class features
the same wide flat seats as on its Boeing
777-300ERs. e 399 seat economy cabin
is also modelled on the 777's.
Ionides said that the airline has also been
pleased with the ongoing reaction to its
A380 fleet, and the lower costs compared
to the 747-400s it replaces. "We have oper-
ated the A380 profitably and with good
load factors," said Ionides. " e superior
operating economics made possible by new
technology mean lower costs per seat, giv-
ing us a competitive edge."
Interestingly, SIA has become the first
carrier to use the A380 on a short/medium
haul route, with the aircraft operating
EXPERIENCE COUNTS Singapore Airlines's A380 fleet has grown to 10 in the two years it has operated the type. (James Morgan)
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