British Airways BA85 rolls out on YVR's Rwy 26L - the first scheduled A380 in Vancouver. Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

British Airways flight BA85 rolls out on YVR’s Rwy 26L – the first scheduled A380 in Vancouver – 
Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

Western Canada’s first scheduled Airbus A380 service began on Sunday evening, with the arrival of British Airways flight BA85 at Vancouver International Airport. YVR is the airline’s only Canadian A380 destination, and is one of only nine city-pairs worldwide served by one of British Airways’ eleven megajets.

The A380 replaces British Airways’ daily London-YVR Boeing 747 service for the summer season. “This is a terrific market for us, it does tremendously well, so the A380 just perfectly suits the market” says Robert Antoniuk, British Airways VP Customer Service and Operations, North America West & Mexico. “This flight is absolutely full to capacity today.” The four-cabin A380 has a total of 469 seats, a significant jump from the 345-seat 747 it replaces.

The first scheduled A380 at YVR is towed to the gate on a beautiful Vancouver evening. Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

The first scheduled A380 at YVR is towed to the gate on a beautiful Vancouver evening – Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the A380’s arrival, with clear skies and light winds. And to make sure that every AvGeek and plane-spotter had a chance to see and take shots of the plane’s approach and landing, YVR arranged for the A380 to land on the airport’s south runway. YVR’s Flight Path Park is right beside the approach lights on short final to Rwy 26L, and the airport set up extra bleachers in the South Terminal parking lot, right beside the airport’s mid-Rwy 08R/26L viewing platform.

Hundreds of people turned out to watch this once-in-a-lifetime event, and if social media is any indication, thousands and thousands of photos were taken of the A380’s approach and landing from all over the city. YVR’s social media team even handed out celebratory cupcakes to spectators, who came from as far away as Seattle.

The pilots of BA85 wave to the crowds at YVR. Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

The pilots of BA85 wave to the crowds at YVR – Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

The airport has been planning for the A380 since the plane was announced two decades ago. An Airbus flight-test A380 landed at YVR ten years ago, on a global route-proving flight, but Sunday’s BA flight marks the plane’s first scheduled service to Vancouver.

Rupert Potter, British Consul General Vancouver, Robert Antoniuk, VP, British Airways &amp; Craig Richmond, CEO YVR, celebrate the A380.<br /> Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

Rupert Potter, British Consul General Vancouver, Robert Antoniuk, VP, British Airways & Craig Richmond, CEO YVR, celebrate the A380 – Photo: Leighton Matthews | Pacific Air Photo

“We can actually take two A380s at once, and if more decided to fly, we would quickly get ready,” says Craig Richmond, CEO and President of the Vancouver Airport Authority. “The main thing is that the runways, the taxiways, and the aprons are built for the plane.” The passenger areas for YVR’s A380 gates are larger than normal, with huge windows giving great views of the ramp and Vancouver’s beautiful scenery.

And there’s a chance that plane-spotters in Vancouver could see additional A380 service – but from what airline? “I couldn’t tell you,” says Richmond. “There are a couple of candidates.”

CORRESPONDENT - VANCOUVER, BC. Howard's lifelong passion for aviation began when he was a kid, watching TCA Super Connies, Viscounts, and early jets at Montreal's Dorval Airport. He’s based in Vancouver, BC, so when Howard isn’t writing, he’s probably plane-spotting at YVR, PAE, BFI or SEA.

http://www.wingborn.aero
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4 Comments
Phoenix

Minor point-out: you have the CEO and President of YVR down as “Craig Richardson” when it’s “Craig Richmond”. You actually have it correct in the caption of the last photo.

I spotted the A380 parked at gate E82 a couple of days ago, and it’s /massive/. Dwarfs the B777-300ER parked a couple of gates away.

As for the “couple of candidates” for A380 service? I’m betting Lufthansa and….. Air France? Unless it’s a new airline starting YVR service for the first time (EMIRATES ahem ahem ahem)

Don’t forget KE will be flying their 747-8i here for the summer as well, starting June 22.

Very cool post. Thanks!

Good eye, Phoenix – thanks! Don’t know how the heck that happened! 🙂
Yes, it could be LH, or maybe even Korean. I don’t know that the YVR-CDG load is enough for Air France to upgauge to a 380. And yes, ahem, ahem, Emirates! With 2 x 777s a day going to SEA, I’m sure they’re pulling pax from YVR. But that’s a bigger discussion for the governments.

Would one of the other ME3 (Etihad, Qatar) be a possibility to ad A380 service to YVR? Neither have a presence at SEA and there is currently no service to that area from YVR

Phoenix

Only if the Canadian govt allows them (translation: if AC can get out of bed with the Canadian govt). Until that happens, we’re stuck with the 6 weekly departures & arrivals country-wide.

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