At a glittering ceremony in Hamburg, Lufthansa has taken delivery of D-AIMA, the first of its 15 Airbus A380 superjumbos ordered. Due to production delays at airframe manufacturer Airbus S.A.S, only three more A380s will join the fleet in 2010. Lufthansa becomes the fifth airline after Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas and Air France, to introduce the A380 into service. The aircraft, manufacturer serial number MSN038, is registered as D-AIMA, and named Frankfurt am Main, is the 28th Airbus A380 to be delivered.
As previously reported, Lufthansa will deploy its new flagship aircraft on routes to Tokyo, Beijing and Johannesburg. With the recent failure at oneworld member Japan Airlines (JAL), competing alliances like SkyTeam led by Delta are making aggressive moves to get JAL to switch alliances. Lufthansa, a founding member of Star Alliance, is using its A380 to build up PR in Tokyo.
During the handover ceremony in Hamburg, Lufthansa unveiled its new First Class cabin with eight generous seats on the upper deck. The upper deck is completely reserved for premium passengers and will also offer 98 Business seats. The main deck will offer 420 Economy Class seats. Lufthansa’s A380s are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.
Being the national carrier of Germany, a nation closely associated with Airbus, there has been an active involvement between the carrier and the airframe maker from the beginning of the A380 programme. Lufthansa and Airbus have worked closely on the aircraft design through to certification. Between 2005 and 2010 the A380 underwent several airport compatibility tests at Lufthansa’s home base in Frankfurt. In cabin safety evacuation tests, Lufthansa cabin crews successfully evacuated 873 people in just 78 seconds. Lufthansa was also a major partner during initial ground based ‘virtual’ flights and on the first real long-range route proving flights.
However, Airbus will still lag behind Boeing as the large aircraft of choice at Lufthansa which features a large Boeing 747-400 fleet and is a customer for the upcoming 747-8.
Do visit the Lufthansa A380 website for a detailed tour of their new A380.
Lufthansa is also offering some great wallpapers for your computer. Download them here.
A small bit of interesting A380 trivia. With Air France’s A380 service between Paris and London (primarily for crew training), London’s Heathrow will be the only airport to receive A380s from four different carriers. Can you name the other three? Answer via a comment.