Heads of State Help Celebrate A380
TOULOUSE, France—Heads of state from the four traditional Airbus partner countries came together to help celebrate the unveiling of the first A380, paying tribute to the vision and dedication of Airbus and the spirit of co-operation that had made this day possible. For French President Jacques Chirac, the unveiling of the A380 was a moment of pride and emotion.
He hailed the A380 as a great European success story and said the huge technological feat was matched by the environmental challenge, with the A380 being one of the cleanest aircraft in the world. President Chirac also thanked more than 200,000 workers in Europe and around the world whose efforts made the aircraft possible and the airlines for enabling the A380 to 'spread its wings and fly."Today is the culmination of a huge effort by all those involved in the programme," he said. "The A380 demonstrates the success of European industrial policy and embodies the vision of European integration. I hope this is the first in a long line of successes."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "The A380 is the most exciting aircraft in the world and is a symbol of economic strength, technological innovation and a dedicated workforce." He took the opportunity to pay tribute to the dedication and skills of workers in the UK and across Europe. "They deserve great praise for their contribution to this aircraft," he said. "The A380 is the result of unprecedented co-operation between the four countries and today was the culmination of many years of hard work. This is a day of which we can all be truly proud." German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the occasion was "a great day for Europe and the aviation industry and a triumph of engineering in the best traditions of our four countries.. "I still remember coming to Toulouse many years ago to discuss the A380 and how the project could be supported. And to those people who then said, 'Lord knows when this project might happen', we present this aircraft today," he said.
"You have written a piece of European history and I wish you all the best for the future." Spanish Prime Minister Jose-Luis Rodriguez Zapatero described the A380 as a 'monument of intelligence' and a milestone in the capacity of human progress. Seeing the aircraft, he said people would reach the conclusion that 'Europe can't be stopped.He said the dream was made possible only because four countries came together under the single blue flag of the European Union, adding: "It's the best example of civilized co-existence devised by man." The four heads of state then joined Airbus President and CEO Noel Forgeard and the heads of airlines and Airbus shareholders in pressing the button, which floodlit the A380 to a rapturous round of applause from the assembled guests and media. Selecting the A380 — Etihad Airways & Emirates
By Jamal AlMajaidaPARIS — Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates selected the new generation, double-deck A380 for its future growth with a decision to acquire 24 Airbus aircraft including four A380s.A young and growing company, Etihad will operate the aircraft to further develop its route network to Europe, Asia, India and North America."We believe that the Airbus range of aircraft offers us the best option for both guest satisfaction and the future growth of the airline," said Dr Ahmed Bin Saif al Nahyan, chairman of Etihad Airways.EmiratesWith an order for 43 A380s, Emirates is the largest customer worldwide of the new Airbus double-deck aircraft, Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines said. The airline already has a fleet of A330s and A340s in operation, including a number of very long range A340-500s. The addition of the A380 will provide the extra capacity; long range and economy that the airline needs to satisfy its rapid passenger and freight growth and network.Announcing the order for A380s, Emirates Chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said: We especially like the go-anywhere flexibility of the four-engine A340-500 and -600, which will take the world's longest routes in their stride. We are also very excited by the ability to carry more passengers in the A380 and by its outstanding economics - in fact we could already use some of them today.Qatar Airways Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Airways said that Qatar Airways, the largest all-Airbus fleet operator in the Middle East, is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. Its order for two A380s has reinforced the relationship it has built with Airbus over the years. With an all-Airbus fleet, Qatar will benefit fully from the commonality between the different Airbus aircraft types and its resulting cost savings and operational flexibility.Announcing the airline's commitment to the A380 in 2001, His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani said: "The Airbus aircraft were the clear winners of our comprehensive evaluation of competing aircraft. The new A330s and A380s with their unsurpassed cabin comfort, economy and reliability will help us remain industry leaders."Malaysia AirlinesPenerbangan Malaysia Berhad (PMB), parent company of Malaysia Airlines, signed a firm contract for six A380 in December 2003. The A380s will be operated by Malaysia Airlines on key trunk routes to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.Dato' Md Nor Yusoff, then Managing Director of Malaysia Airlines said: "We are looking forward to the introduction of the A380 into our operations as it will allow us to maintain our position as an airline in premier league. This sophisticated equipment will provide much-needed extra capacity on existing routes and enable us to maximize our presence in key markets and intensify our long term network expansion plan."Lufthansa
Wolfgang Mayrhuber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lufthansa said that Deutsche Lufthansa signed a firm contract for the purchase of 15 A380s in December 2001. The German airline plans to use the new aircraft on high-density routes from its hub in Germany to cities such as New York, New Delhi, Singapore and Bangkok.Lufthansa's two main hubs, Frankfurt and Munich are getting ready for the arrival of the A380. In April 2004, Munich became the first European airport to receive official authorization for A380 operations when it received approval from the Bavarian government. Frankfurt is preparing dedicated A380 stands at Terminal 1 and a new maintenance base for the A380, to be ready by 2007. Terminal 2 already has five stands available.Lufthansa operates nearly all Airbus aircraft types and is Airbus' largest customer.Korean Air
With an order for five A380s, Korean Air confirmed in intention to reinforce Incheon International Airport as the strongest hub in Northeast Asia. The airline intends to use the A380 to meet its goal of "Excellence in Flight, Yang Ho Cho, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Korean Airlines, said,
Korean Air will initially operate the A380 on its high-density traffic routes from Seoul to the US west coast.
Airbus' relationship with Korean air dates back to 1974, when the airline became the first customer outside Europe. It remains one of Airbus' largest customers in the region.Thai Airways InternationalThai Airways International selected the A380 as part of its long-term fleet expansion plan. The airline, which has announced an order for six A380s, intends to operate the new double-deck aircraft on major trunk routes from Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi airport to European destinations, Kanok Abhiradee, President, Thai Airways International, said.Thai Airways International became one of the earliest customers of Airbus when it ordered four A300s in 1977. It currently operates a fleet of 21 A300-600Rs and 12 A330-300s on regional and domestic routes and has ordered new A340-500s and -600s.Singapore AirlinesSingapore Airlines, already a customer for the very long range A340-500, will be the first customer to receive and operate the A380.In line with its policy of maintaining a young fleet, Singapore Airlines will use its A380s to replace their older large aircraft with a more modern, cost-efficient, environmentally friendly aircraft, compliant with the most stringent noise and emissions regulations, according to Chew Choon Seng, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Airlines. The A380 will allow Singapore Airlines to fly non-stop between Singapore and all the capital cities of Europe, giving the airline room to grow in a congested airport environment without increasing the number of slots. And the large cabin will give their designers an opportunity for innovative cabin amenities.
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