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DECEMBER 2009 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
a daily rotation between Singapore and
Hong Kong. " at service in particular is
a great commercial success with very high
load factors," said Ionides.
Ionides also notes that with the A380
now flying daily ser vices to both Mel-
bourne and Sydney that there has been a
real acceptance of the aircraft by Australian
passengers. " e airline's southwest Pacific
routes have traditionally been very popular
among our customers, and our customers
flying to and from Sydney and Melbourne
on our A380s have given great feedback
about the quiet cabin ambience and our in-
novative product offerings on the aircraft."
With the 10 A380s in service, SIA has
now passed the milestone where its A380
fleet now outnumbers its 747-400s, which
it has been withdrawing from service. As
Ionides explains, this is not unplanned.
" e A380 has entered our fleet at a time
when some of our older 747-400 aircraft
are being phased out, thus acting in part as
a natural replacement for these aircraft."
Compared to the 747-400s, the A380s
have approximately 100 more seats. " is
means that while there will be capacity
growth, it will be incremental and sustain-
able for the airline."
Emirates, which was the first carrier
to take the A380 with Engine Alliance
GP7200 engines, is also reporting that
its fleet of A380s is performing well. e
Dubai based carrier currently operates
a fleet of five, and uses them on services
to London, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto
and Bangkok. It initially operated a daily
Dubai-New York service with the A380,
but this was substituted with a Boeing
777-300ER in June this year due to lower
demand. Nevertheless, it has said that it
does intend to put the aircraft back on the
route once demand improves.
On October 30, Air France became the
fourth member of the A380 club as it took
delivery of its first aircraft (which was also
the 20th A380 to be delivered). Air France is
due to receive its second aircraft in Decem-
ber with its third in January 2010. At the
time of writing, the airline was planning
to commence its first A380 ser vice on the
Paris-New York route from November 20.
Over the next year, Lufthansa and
Korean Air will become the next airlines to
fly the A380, with deliveries of their first
aircraft expected in March and December
With 19 aircraft in ser vice, Airbus said
at the time of the Air France delivery that
the worldwide fleet of A380s had amassed
over 75,000 revenue flying hours on over
7900 commercial flights, carrying over 2.5
OPERATIONS AND SUPPORT
While inducting a new aircraft into the
fleet is a major task for any airline, both
SIA and Qantas report that in its first years
of service the A380 has not presented any
"Our engineers also tell us that while
any introduction of a new aircraft will
have its teething problems, the A380 has
been one of the most, if not the most,
successful introductions into service of an
aircraft program to Qantas, and we have
a lot of history in doing that," said Joyce,
who added that, anecdotally, the introduc-
tion was much smoother than that of the
Nevertheless, Qantas's acting executive
general manager engineering John Vincent
admits that there have been some teething
issues. "We did encounter a fuel tank indica-
tion system issue that affected two aircraft
and a nose wheel steering issue on one.
Neither presented any safety issue," he said.
"We have worked closely with Airbus
to ensure issues such as these are resolved
quickly," he added.
Qantas's group executive operation Lyell
Strambi told Australian Aviation that the
aircraft have overall been performing well.
"Dispatch reliability has been very good
and our expectations have been met. A
small number of technical issues impacted
operations for a short period, but generally
we have been extremely happy with the air-
craft's reliability and overall performance,
which we continue to monitor closely."
On that performance, Strambi notes
that the aircraft so far has been meeting its
operational benchmarks. " e A380 has
met or exceeded all the original perform-
ance, noise and fuel burn guarantees made
" e A380 has met or exceeded all the original
performance, noise and fuel burn guarantees made
by Airbus at the time the aircraft purchase decision
photo -- Rob Finlayson
NEXT TO ARRIVE Qantas's next A380, MSN027, pictured at Toulouse, will now be delivered in December.
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