Sector positive about Airbus A380 impact

The Airbus A380 aeroplane, unveiled last month in Toulouse, looks set to have a positive impact on long-haul C&I business. The 555-passenger superjumbos will come into public service in 2006 and major airlines including Virgin, Emirates and Qantas have already placed bulk orders. Heathrow expects to accommodate more A380 flights than any other airport worldwide. Travel Management Team managing director Carol Patton was cautiously excited: "It’s too early to tell what problems might be thrown up by issues such as passport control and luggage collection, but the potential for improved access to places including Dubai and Australia, and more scope for favourable group treatment, is of real interest." Emirates group chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum was equally positive. He said: "The A380 will give us some of the lowest seat costs in the industry, and will be an impressive people carrier offering more passenger amenities." Airbus claims the A380 will be the first long-haul plane to burn less than three litres of fuel per passenger over 66 miles.

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