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Mon, Mar 19, 2007

Airbus A380s Touch Down In NYC, LAX

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 03.19.07 1235 EDT: Within the past hour, two Airbus A380 superjumbo airliners -- one flown by a Lufthansa flight crew, the other plane destined for Australian carrier Qantas but flown by Airbus pilots -- landed at New York's JFK International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport in southern California.

The arrivals mark the first time Airbus' mammoth plane touched down on US soil. The LAX flight touched down approximately 25 minutes after the A380's arrival at JFK.

The Associated Press reports the Lufthansa plane bound for JFK had a full complement of 483 passengers and crew onboard, including employees with the German carrier and Airbus. The flight was designated Lufthansa Flight 8940, and sported full dining and entertainment options for passengers onboard the 8.5-hour flight from Frankfurt.

"We are proud that ... we are now able to present the A380 to the American people," said A380 program head Mario Heinen. "Both JFK and LAX, as well as Chicago O'Hare International and Washington Dulles International Airport are key future destinations for the A380."

On Tuesday, the A380 will head to Chicago, where Airbus will demonstrate the aircraft's ability to operate from O'Hare. That demo flight is expected to be watched closely by two potential A380 customers -- Northwest Airlines and United Airlines -- reports the Associated Press. The plane will then return to New York and then Frankfurt.

After a stop in Hong Kong, the same plane will make a return appearance on US soil March 25, when it is scheduled to land at Dulles International Airport.

The A380 that landed at LAX had only an Airbus flight test crew onboard. The plane will be used for evaluation testing of the airport's ability to handle the superjumbo airliner.

ANN will bring you more on this story as it develops.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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