Emirates has unveiled a huge 45-tonne model of its A380 aircraft, replacing the previous Concorde replica on the roundabout by the entrance to Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3.
Now appropriately named Emirates Roundabout, the site has been reinforced with a 600-tonne concrete foundation, in order to support what is believed to be the largest model aircraft ever built (subject to ratification from Guiness World Records). To give you some idea of the size of the the A380 replica, it is exactly one third the size of the real superjumbo, and the same size as an actual Airbus A320.
It’s not known exactly how much Emirates have paid for the rights to the site, but a spokesperson said that “the roundabout represents a significant seven-figure investment over a six-year contract, which has a further five years to run. Emirates believes it is great value as it is already recognised as ‘the Emirates Roundabout’ and we’ve got the 2012 Olympics traffic to come.” In any case it will be a fraction of the US$18.8 billion list price for the 58 superjumbos the carrier has put its name down for.
The model was flown in to Heathrow in ten separate parts, before being assembled on what is acknowledged as one of the world’s most high profile advertising sites. It is more than twice the size of the Concorde replica which occupied the site until March 2007, and is 24 metres in length, with a wingspan of 26 metres.
One thing the model doesn’t have though is onboard showers – to experience those you’ll need to purchase a first class ticket for the real thing, as Emirates officially announced this week (see online news July 23).
For more information visit emirates.com.
Report by Mark Caswell