The A380, the world’s biggest aircraft, made its long-awaited debut at Heathrow on Thursday. It flew in as part of a series of trials before its first commercial flight, expected later this year, when Singapore Airlines will fly from Heathrow to Sydney via Singapore.
The A380 is enormous. It will be able to carry 555 passengers in its standard mix of economy, business and first class. Economy-only flights will pack in around 850 passengers.
BAA predicts that by 2016 the A380 will be carrying one in every eight passengers using the airport.
Airbus, the plane’s manufacturers, has claimed that the A380 will be quieter than the jumbo jets currently flying.
John Stewart, chair of campaign group HACAN ClearSkies, said, “Even if the A380 turns out to be a little quieter than the jumbos currently using Heathrow, by no stretch of the imagination will it be a quiet plane. It will still be a noisy and very intrusive plane. But the trial run didn’t really tell us too much about the noise levels as the plane not have passengers on board.”
Stewart added, “If BAA was really concerned about residents under the flight it would use the fact the A380 can carry so many passengers to actually reduce the number of planes using the airport.”