British Airways announces first A380 routes to Los Angeles (October) and Hong Kong (November)

BA’s first A380 is to be delivered in July 2013, with the 2nd in September and the 3rd in November. BA will start using its first A380 for flights to Los Angeles, starting in October and then on its Hong Kong route from November. BA has ordered 12 A380s, and has options on 7 more, meaning it can buy them at an agreed price in future. The A380 is meant to be a very fuel efficient plane per passenger kilometre, and it would be if it had more than 800 passengers, which it could carry if there was all one class. However, airlines like to have as many First class, and business class (or equivalent) seats as possible, so none has more than 550 or so passengers. BA’s A380s will only have 469 seats. Of these, 14 are First class, 97 are business class, and only 303 are Economy class, which take up the least space each. While Airbus makes extravagant claims about how fuel efficient the plane is, these never given details of how they are calculated – the number of passengers on the plane, and the length of flight are important, but not stated. It is not likely that with a load factor of some 80% and 469 seats, that the BA A380s will be particularly fuel efficient, per passenger kilometre.


British Airways announces first A380 routes to Los Angeles and Hong Kong

by  Mark Caswell
5 Mar 2013 ( Buying Business Travel)

British Airways has confirmed that Los Angeles will be the launch destination for its first A380 aircraft from this October. The superjumbo will be rostered onto the Heathrow-LAX route from October 15, with tickets on sale from today.

BA will then add the A380 to its Hong Kong route from November 15, with tickets also on sale from today. [Appears to be swapping the plane used, not adding another service to Hong Kong] 

To launch the ticket sales, BA is offering World Traveller return tickets to LA for £499 (£559 for Hong Kong services), with the option to upgrade to World Traveller Plus for an extra £380, and Club World fares starting from £3,800 for two people.

BA’s A380 configuration will accommodate 469 passengers in four classes:

  • First: 14 seats at the front of the main deck.
  • Club World (business class): 44 seats on the main deck, 53 seats on the upper deck.
  • World Traveller Plus (premium economy): 55 seats on the upper deck.
  • World Traveller (economy): both decks, total 303 seats.






British Airways confirms first 787, A380 delivery dates

 September 17, 2012

787 in British Airways’ livery. Courtesy, BA


British Airways (BA) has announced delivery dates for the first of its 24 Boeing 787s and 12 Airbus A380s.

The first 787-8 is expected to arrive in May 2013; [now, of course, delayed by an unknown amount of time, due to the battery fire problems] a further three of the type should be delivered by year end. The first three A380s will be delivered in July, September and November 2013.

BA, which split its long-haul aircraft order between the two types, has 12 A380s on order plus seven options, as well as eight 787-8s and 16 787-9s (ATW Daily News, Sept. 28, 2007). The A380s will replace the carrier’s older Boeing 747s; the 787s will initially replace its 767 fleet.

A BA spokeswoman said the carrier will announce initial routes for the two new types later this year. The A380 is widely expected to be used initially on high-density Far East routes—such as Singapore and Hong Kong—and possibly to New York JFK.



Wikipedia on Airbus A370 deliveries 




BA’s seat layout – only 469 seats

The planes will only have 469 seats, of which only 303 are Economy class.  There are a total of 14 first class seats, with 97 Club World seats (all of which take up much more space on the plane than Economy seats).
The A380 seating plans

On the planes, there will be 14 seats in first class on the main deck, which will also feature 44 club world (business class) seats, plus 199 seats in world traveller (economy).

On the upper deck there will be 53 business class seats, 55 seats in world traveller plus (the premium economy class) and 104 seats in economy.

Much of the pre-publicity for the A380 focused on the fact that the planes would carry around 555 passengers, although the carriers that have taken delivery of them have flown them with fewer. BA’s planes will fly with 469.



Wikipedia says, of the A380s that have been sold so far:

Passenger capacity varies with the seat configuration chosen by the operating airline. While the A380-800 is certified for up to 853 passengers (538 on the main deck and 315 on the upper), achievable with a one-class configuration, Airbus references a “comfortable three-class” 525-passenger configuration in their marketing material[1] however few airlines have configured A380s with that many seats.

Airlines’ announced capacities range from 407 passengers (Korean Air) to over 644 (Emirates Airline, in two classes), with an 840-passenger one-class layout reportedly planned by Air Austral.

As over 80% of the fully laden take-off weight of a modern aircraft such as the Airbus A380 is craft and fuel, there remains considerable room for future improvements in fuel efficiency


Airlines like Emirates boast of how fuel efficient the A380 is, but their page at  is pure greenwash, giving no references for its claims, and no information about how many passengers it is assuming are on the plane, and for what length of flight it was measured – which are both important – when it gives its per passenger fuel efficiency figures. Very unscientific and very inefficient (or disingenuous) not to define these properly.

Emirates blithely say – giving no definitions etc, so the claim is meaningless:

“The Airbus A380 is one of the most environmentally advanced aircraft in the sky. With fuel efficiency as low as 3.1 litres per 100 passenger kilometres, ultra quiet engines, and a host of light-weight components, Emirates A380s fly more passengers further and more efficiently than other large commercial aircraft. Emirates worked closely with Airbus to make the A380 dream a reality, and the result is a green giant that is the pride of our fleet.

“The A380’s fuel efficiency is better than most modern small passenger cars in terms of fuel economy per passenger kilometre – this is a key advantage in reducing our emissions and maximising eco-efficiency.

“Emirates’ A380s were specially selected with the Engine Alliance GP7200 engines, which save a further 500,000 litres of fuel per aircraft per year than other alternatives The greater fuel efficiency of the GP7200 engines on Emirates’ A380s results in the lowest emissions of any large commercial aircraft – a meagre 75g of CO2 per passenger kilometre.”


Critics say “Airbus officials may be stretching their math by calculating for more passengers than most A380 flights will actually carry. Furthermore, critics argue, the plane’s technological improvements are simply what is to be expected in any new airplane.

“”Megajets are not the way to greener, or cleaner, skies,” said Alan Durning, executive director of Northwest Environment Watch in Seattle, Washington. “On almost no count is the A380 particularly green.””

Boeing, not surprisingly, says the seat-mile cost differential between its 747 airliner and the A380 is very slim.

Airlines use the ample space aboard the A380 for cocktail lounges and business conference rooms. That reduces passenger capacity and cause the fuel consumption ratio to go up. Most airlines configure their A380s with fewer than 500 seats. And what if the Airbus flies at less than full capacity?  Most long haul flights are only at around 80% load factor.  (But having so many high-fare seats, the plane might still be profitable to fly, as most passengers are paying over the odds).


Using the same data for the A380 gives 0.032 litres/passenger km.  link  [Using figures of maximum 644  passengers with 2 classes, range of 15,400 kilometers, and fuel capacity of 320,000 litres].   [Airlines generally have fewer passengers: for instance, Singapore Airlines offers 471 seats and a standard configuration is 555 seats.  Not  644 seats].

Airbus claims that the A380 800 consumes 17% lesser fuel per passenger than second biggest Jumbo Jet in the market ( Boeing 747 400).