World's Largest Passenger Jet Lands At Miami International Airport


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World's Largest Passenger Jet Lands At Miami International Airport

By Steve Hall

June 13, 2011 - The world's largest passenger airliner made its debut at Miami International Airport (MIA) on Friday, inaugurating Lufthansa's daily non-stop service between Miami, Florida, and Frankfurt, Germany. 

Few airports can accommodate the Airbus A380, which is the size of a football field. MIA's South Terminal, constructed by a joint venture between Parsons Corporation and Odebrecht Construction Inc.

MIA's South Terminal was designed specifically to handle the superjumbo jet. MIA is the fifth U.S. airport and the first in the Southeastern United States to obtain A380 service. 

It has a 263-ft wingspan and contains 4 million parts produced by 1,500 companies in 30 different countries. The A380 is also the world's "greenest" plane, some 15% more fuel-efficient than the smaller Boeing 747-400 that Lufthansa currently flies on the route. "It's a great day for MIA," said Ginger Evans, Parsons Senior Vice President and Aviation Division Manager. "Parsons-Odebrecht is pleased to continue assisting Miami-Dade County in its efforts to keep pace with air travel and meet passenger needs." 

Gilberto Neves, Odebrecht's Chief Executive Officer, added, "It is immensely gratifying to have the very latest and best airplane technology attracted to a terminal facility built to do just that, bring the very finest air-travel experience to the people of South Florida." 

The $300 million A380 has bars and two large, luxurious bathrooms on the upper deck, with separate changing and restroom areas. The main deck economy level features in-seat video screens on slender seat backs for additional passenger space. Flights departing MIA's Terminal J at 4 p.m. will arrive in Frankfurt at 7 a.m., local time, and will be serviced by 23 cabin crew members. 

The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus, a subsidiary of EADS. Designed to challenge Boeing's monopoly in the large-aircraft market, the A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world, 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 an A380-800's cabin with 5,146 square feet (478.1 m2) of floor space; 49% more floor space than the current next-largest airliner, the Boeing 747-400 with 3,453 square feet (320.8 m2), and provides seating for 525 people in a typical three-class configuration or up to 853 people in all-economy class configurations.


The A380-800 has a design range of 15,200 km (8,200 nmi; 9,400 mi), 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). As of May 2011, 234 firm orders have been placed, of which 49 had been delivered. The largest order came from Emirates, which has 90 aircraft on order.

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