The first of Lufthansa’s 15 A380 “superjumbos” was handed over to it by Airbus earlier this morning. The ceremony, well attended by CEOs and chairmen from Lufthansa, Airbus and Rolls Royce, was broadcast live from Frankfurt Airport.
Lufthansa’s CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber, notably in high spirits, thanked Airbus and Rolls Royce whose Trent 900s the A380 uses, for their hard work in bringing the aircraft up to full-readiness.
Mayrhuber outlined many of the “technical solutions” that set Lufthansa’s A380 apart, including its new in-flight entertainment system, first class cabin, low noise levels and fuel efficiency.
Tom Enders, Airbus’ president and CEO, described the years leading to today’s handover, and the work involved in achieving flight certification, as a “marathon”. But he added that after “some difficult years, the spirit is up again.”
The new 526-seat A380, named "Frankfurt am Main", is to become Lufthansa’s flagship aircraft. Its first scheduled flight for paying passengers will commence on June 11, destined for Tokyo’s Narita Airport (see online news April 29).
And it is on this maiden voyage that passengers will for the first time experience Lufthansa’s new First class cabin. For a closer look at the new seats, click here. Also a seating plan can be found here.
A representative from the German government was on hand today, in the form of Peter Hintze, parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of economics and technology. Hintze, speaking in German, spoke of the A380 in the context of the wider economy and welcomed its environmental benefits.
The delivery comes none too soon for Lufthansa with notable network carriers already flying the A380, not least of all European rival Air France. Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Emirates make up the other A380 airlines, and a Business Traveller comparison of their layouts can be seen here.
Anyone that missed this morning’s webcast will be able to download clips later today by visiting a380.lufthansa.com.
Report by Andrew Gough
A still of Lufthansa's new A380 at Frankfurt, captured from this morning's webcast