Air France A380 Makes First Transatlantic Flight





Air France A380 Makes First Transatlantic Flight

By Bill Goldston

Air France Airbus A380

November 20, 2009, Friday morning, at 11:39 am, Air France's Airbus A380 departed from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, operating flight AF 380, made the first transatlantic flight between Europe. The aircraft, registration F-GHJA, landed at New York-Kennedy airport at 1:07 PM. 

Among the 538 passengers were the 380 winning bidders for seats on the inaugural Paris-New York - Paris flights. This auction raised proceeds of 300,000 euros which will finance five different humanitarian projects by charities chosen by the Air France Foundation.  

The proceeds of this auction of seats on the two inaugural Paris-New York-Paris flights finally reached 300,000 euros, more than expected. The amount will thus finance 5 humanitarian projects for children in need instead of the three initially planned. The benefits of the auction for the inaugural Paris-New York-Paris flights will go to several projects in aid of humanitarian associations for children in need all over the world.


The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, a subsidiary of EADS. The largest passenger airliner in the world, the A380 made its maiden flight on 27 April 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight on 25 October 2007 from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines. The aircraft was known as the Airbus A3XX during much of its development phase, but the nickname Superjumbo has since become associated with it. 

The A380's upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage, and its width is equivalent to that of a widebody aircraft. This allows for a cabin with 50% more floor space than the next-largest airliner, the Boeing 747-400, and provides seating for 525 people in a typical three-class configuration or up to 853 people in all-economy class configurations. The postponed freighter version, the A380-800F, is offered as one of the largest freight aircraft, with a payload capacity exceeded only by the Antonov An-225. The A380-800 has a design range of 15,200 km (8,200 nmi), sufficient to fly from New York to Hong Kong for example, and a cruising speed of Mach 0.85 (about 900 km/h or 560 mph at cruising altitude). 

In the summer of 1988, a group of Airbus engineers led by Jean Roeder began working in secret on the development of a ultra-high-capacity airliner (UHCA), both to complete its own range of products and to break the dominance that Boeing had enjoyed in this market segment since the early 1970s with its 747. McDonnell Douglas unsuccessfully offered its smaller, double-deck MD-12 concept for sale.

Roeder was given approval for further evaluations of the UHCA after a formal presentation to the President and CEO in June 1990. The project was announced at the 1990 Farnborough Air Show, with the stated goal of 15% lower operating costs than the 747-400. Airbus organized four teams of designers, one from each of its EADS partners (A?rospatiale, DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, British Aerospace, EADS CASA) to propose new technologies for its future aircraft designs. The designs would be presented in 1992 and the most competitive designs would be used.

In January 1993, Boeing and several companies in the Airbus consortium started a joint feasibility study of an aircraft known as the Very Large Commercial Transport (VLCT), aiming to form a partnership to share the limited market. This study was abandoned two years later, Boeing's interest having decreased.  

In June 1994, Airbus began developing its own very large airliner, designated the A3XX. Airbus considered several designs, including an odd side-by-side combination of two fuselages from the A340, which was Airbus?s largest jet at the time. The A3XX was pitted against the VLCT study and Boeing?s own New Large Aircraft successor to the 747. From 1997 to 2000, as the East Asian financial crisis darkened the market outlook, Airbus refined its design, targeting a 15 to 20 percent reduction in operating costs over the existing Boeing 747-400. The A3XX design converged on a double-decker layout that provided more passenger volume than a traditional single-deck design

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