NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This weekend British Airways will begin flying its new double decker Airbus A380 between Miami and London. The inaugural flight BA209 will touch down at Miami International Airport on Sunday, Oct. 25 and will depart as the BA208 the same evening.
The superjumbo A380 is the largest and grandest aircraft in British Airways’ fleet. The new aircraft spans two full decks and can accommodate up to 469 customers across four cabins, including 14 First suites, 97 Club World business class seats with full flatbeds, 55 spacious seats in the private World Traveller Plus (premium economy) cabin, and 303 in World Traveller (economy).
The A380 is optimized for wellness, with quiet, spacious cabins and an advanced cabin air conditioning system that allows 15 different temperature control zones and cabin air that is changed every three minutes. Customers can enjoy on-demand seat-back entertainment, with more than 1,600 hours of programming from around the world.
“We have been flying between Miami and London for more than 40 years and this week we are reinforcing our commitment by introducing an incredible new aircraft onto the route,” said Simon Brooks, SVP Americas for British Airways.
At launch, British Airways will offer twice-daily service; the first departure will continue on the Boeing 747 aircraft, while the second departure will now feature the Airbus A380. A joint business agreement between American, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair, allows members of the AAdvantage, Executive Club and Plus programs to earn and redeem points or miles on codeshare flights across the airlines.
Premium Menu Options at 30,000 Feet
Understanding that the average flyer’s sense of taste decreases by about 30 percent at cruising altitude, British Airways has been working with experts for years to serve the perfect ‘Height Cuisine’ – food and drink with flavors optimized for taste buds at 30,000 feet. In addition to artfully building menus with ingredients that respond well to this environment, British Airways has also developed a full tasting menu for the A380 to give customers a truly memorable journey. For more information about British Airways’ menu selection visit here.
British Airways is introducing a pair of specialty cocktails, The Aviator and London Calling, to celebrate the launch of the A380 service. The limited edition cocktails highlight the coming together of British and South Beach cultures, and were developed exclusively for British Airways customers by Gui Jaroschy of The Broken Shaker in Miami.
Both cocktails present a playful twist on the classic gin and tonic. Gin is one of the most requested spirits on British Airways flights, with more than 128,000 liters served per year. For the next month, customers traveling in First class on the Miami A380 flight and those visiting The Broken Shaker will be able to order The Aviator. During the same period, Miami residents and tourists will be able to order London Calling exclusively at The Broken Shaker, a James Beard Award semifinalist located in Miami Beach and managed by Gui.
As Emirates airlines grows its volume of passengers through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, bringing in a mammoth Airbus A380 would be the logical next step.
Except Sea-Tac can’t fit the 262-foot wingspan of the twin-deck A380 and still maintain regular operations.
The issue is FAA rules that dictate required separation between aircraft, said Sea-Tac spokesman Perry Cooper. While the airport can handle the 225-foot wingspan of Boeing (NYSE: BA) 747-8 jets, the extra 37 feet of an A380 puts that jet in another category.
“At this point we don’t have anything in master planning to accommodate that, because of separation rules,” Cooper said.
While the high-volume airport technically could manage an emergency A380 landing, and even has provided for that possibility, the configuration wouldn’t work for regular service.
“If they were to land on the nearest runway,” he said, “the taxiway next it would be to be shut off, and nobody would be able to operate until that aircraft would go through.”
That’s too bad, because Emirates Vice President of U.S. Sales Matthias Schmid said in an interview this week that as the Dubai-based airline grows in Seattle, graduating to an A380 on one of the twice-daily flights might be the logical next step.
“It is no secret,” he said. “Our president Tim Clark already has mentioned one day looking at full A380 operations to all of our U.S. gateways.”
Emirates now flies the 550-passenger A380 into five U.S. gateways – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and New York – and hopes to add Chicago and Boston.
The A380 is one of the two mainstays of the Emirates fleet. The Boeing 777 is the other, and Emirates balances which jet it uses with where demand is greatest.
Currently Emirates operates a 290-passenger 777-200ER and a 364-passenger 777-300ER jet for the two daily flights between Sea-Tac and Dubai, the second of which started in July. After it upgrades the 200ER, a A380 would be the next way to grow.
Additional growth also would benefit SeaTac-based Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), which supplies connecting flights for about a third of each Emirates flight.
While Sea-Tac would be happy to welcome A380s, there’s no way to grow at the current Sea-Tac site to accommodate them, Cooper said.
The 1,500-acre airport is one of the most high-density in the United States, and the positioning of the three runways, and the taxiways, are dictated by the narrow site.
“We’d love to if we had more space for the airfield,” Cooper said. “But we have to be considerate of the three cities we’re around, and we’re not looking to expand beyond three-runway configuration.”
Puget Sound Business Journal
An Emirates Airbus A380-800, registration A6-EEA performing flight EK-806 from Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) to Dubai (United Arab Emirates) with 186 people on board, was descending towards Dubai, the crew observed no weather returns on their weather radar while descending through a scattered undercast layer of cloud, when the crew noticed a single cloud ahead. The pilot flying reduced the speed, the pilot monitoring requested to deviate around the cloud, however, about 3-4 seconds after passing the cloud the aircraft encountered up and down drafts resulting in 10 cabin crew receiving serious injuries. The aircraft continued for a landing without further incident on Dubai’s runway 30L.
The aircraft remained on the ground for 19 hours before resuming service.
On Sep 22nd 2015 the French BEA reported in their weekly bulletin that the occurrence was rated an accident and is being investigated by United Arab Emirates’ GCAA.
The Aviation Herald