Qatar Airways new A380 First Class – Photo: Qatar Airways
This week, Qatar Aiways unveiled what their new First Class product on the Airbus A380 will look like and it is impressive.
There are some immediate things that jump out and excite me beyond the hard statistics. The colors and branding fit right in with the overall Qatar Airways color palette. Many airlines, to their detriment, completely lose all branding in their premium cabin and begin to focus on creating an atmosphere that attempts to soothe the passenger away.
Qatar Airways’ first A380 before being fully painted – Photo: Airbus
There are some airlines that even make their premium cabins look like hospitals covered in billboards… but I won’t mention names. It looks as if Qatar Airways has decided to create an elegant, welcoming living room-like atmosphere without losing their identity as an airline inside. As an aircraft interiors geek, I find this exciting.
American’s new Airbus A321 in flight – Photo: Eric Dunetz
A while back, I viewed a tweet about an Air Traffic Control (ATC) conversation in New York, where JFK ATC got a little bit confused about an aircraft type. American Airlines (AA) Flight 32 was incorrectly called a “heavy” aircraft, likely because for so long that flight was operated by a Boeing 767-200. Ever since AA debuted their new Airbus A321 on the LAX-JFK route, this flight no longer needs to use the “heavy” designation, but that didn’t stop the ATC staff from using old habits. It made me question, at what point does an aircraft become “heavy”?
When aircraft are approaching or departing an airport, they must use special designations to help avoid the wake turbulence from other aircraft. Larger aircraft, like a 767 or an A340, need more space behind them to prevent the wake vortices generated by the larger wing span from impacting other aircraft. The bigger the aircraft, the longer the distance.
The dangers are real, as all over the world a number of incidents have occurred that can be attributed to a wake vortex. From the crash of an XB-70 in the 60’s to some involving more modern aircraft in the last 10 years (including an A380 in Sydney).
One nice aspect of Airbus being a “young” aircraft manufacture is that there are representatives of each aircraft family still flying in and out of airports today, like Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). SpeedbirdHD does a great job in catching a representative from each category of Airbus aircraft from the A300 to the A380.
First Malaysian Airlines Airbus A380 takes off from Toulouse for its maiden flight. Photo by Airbus. Click for larger.
The first Airbus A380 for Malaysia Airlines successfully completed its maiden flight on 20th October after completion of the final assembly and system tests in Toulouse, France.
After a successful flight of five hours, the aircraft returned to Toulouse to be prepared for its next journey to the Airbus facilities in Hamburg, Germany for cabin installation and painting. Powered by four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, the aircraft is the first of six A380s ordered by Malaysia Airlines, scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2012.
Malaysia Airlines will be the 8th airline to operate the A380.
First Malaysian Airlines Airbus A380 landing in Toulouse after successfully completing its maiden flight. Photo by Airbus. Click for larger.