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Airline ready for A380 landing at Heathrow

Airbus A380 superjumbo

The first Airbus A380 to arrive at Heathrow will land at the airport tomorrow, 18 March, at around 15.15 and BA has won the maintenance contract for the Singapore Airlines plane at Heathrow.

British Airline’s Customer Engineering Group will carry out all the maintenance required for Singapore Airlines A380 superjumbo at Heathrow. This will range from simple tyre changes on the double decker plane all the way up to full engine changes if necessary. BA also handles maintenance for several other airlines, including Qantas, South African Airways, JAL, All Nippon Airways, and Qatar.

In 2012 BA will become the first UK airline to operate the new A380 when it takes delivery of the first of 12 A380s, giving it the biggest A380 fleet at Heathrow. By 2014 around 200 BA pilots will be allocated to fly the A380.

BA pilot Jim Harlow has become the first UK airline pilot to qualify to fly the A380. The 33 year old, who has flown for BA for 11 years, was selected to take part in a special A380 transition training course, designed by Airbus and certified by the Civil Aviation Authority.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to fly the largest passenger aircraft in the world and train alongside Airbus’s own pilots. The aircraft is remarkable. Despite its size, its sophisticated flight control computers make it incredibly light and responsive to fly," comments Captain Harlow.

British Airways will shortly be inviting tenders for the design of the cabin interiors of its A380 fleet. "Just as Terminal 5 enables us to improve the customer experience on the ground, the A380 will give us the opportunity to raise standards in all cabins. We see the A380 as a catalyst for change, and our goal will be to offer the very best of onboard hospitality and overall journey experience," says BA commercial director, Robert Boyle.

BA says it is considering using the A380 – which produces only a quarter of the noise level of a Boeing 747-400 – on flights from destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Johannesburg which arrive early in the morning at Heathrow.

Written by: Nick Purdom