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Thu, Oct 25, 2007

First Singapore Airlines A380 Flight Takes Off

Charity Seat Auction Raised $1.26 Million

Just after 2100 EDT Wednesday night -- early Thursday morning local time -- the first Singapore Airlines A380 took off on its maiden commercial flight, a quick 7.5-hour hop to Sydney.

Onboard the aptly-named Flight SQ380 were 455 passengers, some of whom paid upwards of $100,000 for the privilege of a seat onboard the maiden voyage.

As ANN reported, the carrier auctioned off seats for the jumbo jet's maiden voyage on the online auction site eBay with the proceeds going to charities such as Medicins Sans Frontiers (also known as Doctors without Borders), the Singapore Community Chest, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, and The Children's Hospital at Westmead.

The auction raised $1.26 million, reports the International Herald Tribune.

Also onboard the mammoth plane was a crew of about 30, including a primary two-person flight crew and a relief crew.

"This is indeed a new milestone in the timeline of aviation," said Singapore Airlines CEO Chew Choon Seng before departure. He also noted the A380 is "the first totally new big aircraft to be designed and built since the Boeing 747."

The passenger load was somewhat less than the plane's capacity of 471 people in a three-class configuration. SIA kept some seats open -- including one of the premium suites -- for display.

Singapore Airlines took delivery of the plane last week. It will start on regular revenue flights October 28.

FMI: www.a380.singaporeair.com, www.airbus.com

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