Qantas to Bring A380 to Australia

Sydney, 13 October 2005

Qantas announced today that the world's largest passenger aircraft - the Airbus A380 - would visit Australia next month.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said that following a special request from Qantas, Airbus would bring the A380 to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

"The visit of the A380 will coincide with Qantas' 85th anniversary - a major milestone for the airline and for Australian aviation," Mr Dixon said.

"The aircraft has been generating enormous interest within the aviation industry and the wider community since it was launched by Airbus in the late 1990s.

"Qantas was the first to sign a contract for the A380 and will take delivery of the first of its 12 aircraft in April 2007."

The first A380, MSN-001, which has been involved in Airbus's A380 flight test program, will arrive in Australia in the lead up to Qantas' birthday on 16 November.

Mr Dixon said a firm timetable for the A380's visit was being finalised with Airbus.

"Airbus representatives were in Australia last week to meet with Qantas, CASA and airport operators in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to discuss the considerable logistical effort that will be involved in the A380's visit," Mr Dixon said.

"We expect high levels of interest in the aircraft while it is in Australia and Qantas is very excited that it is behind the A380's first flight outside Europe."

Mr Dixon said Qantas would mark its 85th birthday with a special dinner for 600 guests in its new aircraft maintenance hangar at Brisbane Airport on 15 November.

He said Qantas Ambassador John Travolta would be a special guest at the dinner, along with his now famous ex-Qantas Boeing 707, painted in its original Qantas branding and livery from the 1960s.

"John will be spending a week with Qantas in Australia, visiting Qantas staff and industry partners at various locations, as well as getting back into the simulator for some additional 747-400 training," Mr Dixon said.

The airline will also publish a commemorative book to mark the occasion.

Papers formally establishing Qantas, the world's second oldest airline, were signed at a hotel in Brisbane on 16 November 1920.

From humble beginnings, with two war-surplus biplanes, Qantas has grown to be one of the most successful airlines in the world, and the 11th largest*, with a staff of 38,000, operating 200 aircraft and carrying more than 32 million passengers in 2004/05.

*IATA world airline rankings, based on ASKs and RPKs

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (3333)