Airbus A380 to be shown at airport

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 - Page 3

The world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380, is scheduled to fly to Taiwan next month on its upcoming world tour, its publicist said yesterday.

The double-decker plane is scheduled to arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Dec. 11 and will be on display there, the publicist said.

The superjumbo jet can carry 525 passengers in a three-class configuration or up to 853 passengers in a single-class economy configuration.

Taiwan will be the first stop on the Asia leg of the aircraft’s tour, which is to include Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Airbus, a European corporation based in France, sees Taiwanese carriers China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Air as potential buyers.

However, Taiwan’s two largest airlines have thus far shown little interest, citing market concerns.

EVA Air spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) said his company has no plans to include the A380 in its fleet until Taiwanese airlines are allowed to transit from China to other destinations.

CAL spokesman Hamilton Liu (劉國芊) said Taiwan is not yet an air travel hub, which means there would be concerns about passenger numbers if the A380 was introduced on Taiwan routes.

According to the company’s Web site, Airbus has received 257 confirmed orders for the A380 and has so far delivered 84 of them.

Emirates Airlines owns 90 A380s, the largest fleet of superjumbo jets in the world. Airbus delivered its first A380 to Singapore Airlines in October 2007. The airline currently has 19 A380s and has announced plans to procure five more.

Meanwhile, the vice president of Taoyuan International Airport Corp, Wei Sheng-chih (魏勝之), said the airport will be able to accommodate A380s by mid-2014.

Under a project launched in 2007, the runways and taxiways will be extended to allow larger planes, such as the A380, to land, he said.

Wei said the airport also plans to construct double-layered jetways once the A380s are put into commercial use at the country’s main gateway.