Biggest Passenger Jet Flies to London

LONDON (AP) -- A Singapore Airlines A380 touched down at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday afternoon, completing the first commercial flight to Europe by the world's largest passenger jet.

Flight SQ308 touched down at 2:51 p.m., about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, with 449 passengers on board.

Singapore Airlines hosted a send-off event for passengers at the country's Changi Airport to commemorate the double-decker plane's European commercial debut. Passengers took pictures and helped themselves to breakfast before boarding.

"I booked an extra ticket just for this experience," said Christian Ernst, 25, of Germany, who made a special stopover in Singapore on his way from South Korea to Frankfurt.

The A380 is as tall as a seven-story building and can seat more than 800 passengers in an all-economy class configuration. Singapore Airlines has opted for 471 seats in three classes - 12 Singapore Airlines suites, 60 business class and 399 economy class seats.

Each luxury suite is equipped with sliding doors, a 23-inch LCD TV, a full bed and a leather seat. Two of the suites can be joined to provide double beds.

Powered by four Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, the A380 ends the nearly 37-year reign of the U.S.-made Boeing 747 jumbo jet as the world's most spacious passenger plane. The 747 jumbo jet generally carries about 400 passengers.

Airbus, the European manufacturer, says the A380 is the most fuel efficient and quietest passenger jet ever built.

Singapore Airlines took delivery of the jet, the carrier's third, at the Airbus delivery center in Toulouse, France, last week and will fly it daily between Singapore and London.

Currently, the plane's sole operator, the carrier has deployed two other A380s on daily services between Singapore and Sydney. It has ordered another 16 such planes.

Singapore Airlines will also start flying another A380 jet, its fourth and yet to be delivered, on its Singapore-Tokyo route from May 20.

The first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines in October, 18 months behind schedule because of wiring problems and after billions of dollars in cost overruns for Airbus.

Dubai-based Emirates will become the second airline with the plane when it takes its first delivery in August.

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Associated Press Writer Gillian Wong in Singapore contributed to this report.

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