Air France A380 Completes First Flight to America
While Air France is actually the third carrier to operate the world’s largest commercial aircraft on U.S. routes—following Emirates and Qantas—this flight marks perhaps the most politically significant milestone the A380 program has achieved so far, connecting the country where Airbus assembles the aircraft to the home of the manufacturer’s archrival, Boeing.
Most of the 538 seats aboard the inaugural flight were auctioned to travel enthusiasts curious to fly the new “Superjumbo,” with all proceeds to be donated to charity.
Air France, which had already operated several daily flights between Paris and New York using various types of aircraft, will increase capacity by flying one daily round-trip with the A380 beginning Monday, November 23rd. The carrier has 11 additional copies of the aircraft on order, which will be used for other long haul routes such as Paris-Johannesburg.
Coincidentally, today’s flight comes a day after a report that Boeing has set a new target date for the first flight of their new 787 Dreamliner, a program plagued by delays and design problems comparable to those suffered by Airbus and the A380. The new A380′s arrival also comes just days after Boeing’s own new “very large aircraft,” the 747-8, emerged from its assembly hangar for the first time.