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Preparations are Underway for A380

July 3, 2012

© Houston Airport System
The Lufthansa Airlines A380 aircraft carries up to 526 passengers.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is preparing to become the first airport in Texas to operate scheduled air service using the Airbus A380 aircraft.

Lufthansa Airlines will bring the double-deck aircraft to IAH on August 1 2012, as an upgrade to their service connecting Houston and Frankfurt, Germany.

“This is a tremendous moment for the people of Houston,” Houston aviation director Mario Diaz says. “This enormous aircraft represents the future of international travel within the aviation industry and the future is choosing Houston as its first destination in Texas.”

The A380 is the largest passenger jet in the world, with 63 percent more cabin space than the next largest aircraft, the Boeing 747-400.

The new jet will carry up to 526 passengers, with eight seats in First Class and 98 in Business Class, both located on the upper deck, and 420 seats in Economy on the lower deck. Because of that size, preparing for the aircraft’s arrival presents some significant challenges.

Construction crews are hard at work ensuring that Terminal D at IAH is ready to accommodate the A380. These preparations include the installation of a new fueling pipeline system in the area of Gate D12 and the arrival of the airport’s first duel jet bridge, with the bi-entry system allowing for faster passenger loading and unloading.

The plane’s arrival also requires the installation of two electrical and air-conditioning units to cool the aircraft when parked at the gate. Most jetliners require only one of each unit, but the benefits arriving with the aircraft on August 1 will far outweigh any expenses associated with the preparations.

“Houston is a key international gateway city, especially within the global energy sector,” Diaz says. “The arrival of this new aircraft is going to help us strengthen that role in the future. That’s why I’m so proud of my team for facilitating the arrival and that’s why I’m so happy for the people of Houston.”

Only three other cities in the United States currently have air service featuring the A380 aircraft. The Houston-Frankfurt flight will take off every day at 4:20 p.m. CST and arrive in Germany at 9:05 a.m. local time.

“Houston makes perfect sense as the fourth-largest U.S. city to experience Lufthansa’s A380 flagship aircraft and premium service,” said Jürgen Siebenrock, Vice President The Americas. “Lufthansa’s new A380 service also improves capacity between Houston’s prevalent oil and energy business and the airline’s over 35 other oil and energy destinations worldwide.”
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