MIAMI (CBS4) – The largest passenger airliner in the world is coming to South Florida on Friday. Lufthansa will begin daily flights on the A380 between Miami and Frankfurt beginning June 10th, 2011 at Miami International Airport.
MIA is the fifth airport in the nation and the first in the southeast United States to obtain A380 service, according to airport officials.
“Lufthansa’s announcement of the A380 coming to MIA is a pinnacle moment we have eagerly anticipated for many years,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director José Abreu. “We are honored to be one of the first U.S. airports Lufthansa has chosen for A380 service and we greatly look forward to welcoming the historic first flight from Frankfurt in June.”
On Friday, Lufthansa’s A380 will depart Miami for Frankfurt about 7:50 p.m. from Gate J-17.
For its regular daily schedule, Flight 463 is expected to depart Miami at 4:10 p.m. and arrive in Frankfurt at 7:15 a.m. the following day; the return Flight 462 will leave Frankfurt at 9:55 a.m. and arrive back in Miami at 1:50 p.m.
Rates start at $614 for a one-way fare based on roundtrip purchase.
The airport spent about $4 million on terminal modifications, including the installation of a third jet bridge to prepare for the A380. Previously, Lufthansa flew Boeing 747-400 planes on the route.
South Floridians curious to see this flying behemoth should be able to watch it land from vantage points south of the airport along Perimeter Road, including the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant at 1395 NW 57th Ave.
The landing of the football-field-sized aircraft will be streamed live at miami-airport.com and also on jumbo television screens in the South Terminal at Concourse J’s International Greeters Lobby, on the third level.
So just how big is the double-deck, wide-body, four-engine Airbus A380?
• Football field-sized aircraft
• 237 ft. long (equal to two blue whales)
• 79 ft. high tail (the height of five giraffes)
• 263 ft. wingspan (35 wedge-tail eagles)
• 1.3 million lb. (165 elephants)
• 5,150 cubic ft of cargo and baggage hold (or 35 million ping pong balls)
• 53 ft. long inflatable emergency slides (longer than a double-decker bus)
• 330 miles of wiring (distance between Paris and Frankfurt)
• 4 million parts produced by 1,500 companies from 30 countries
• Can hold up to 853 passengers in an all-economy configuration, however Lufthansa’s A380 is configured with 526 seats and features the airline’s new First Class located on the upper deck.
• It has a 40-percent higher takeoff weight than the 747-400, but it burns 12-percent less fuel per seat and it emits half the noise.
• The A380 HAS 50-percent more floor area than the 747-400.
• Lufthansa will have 23 cabin crew members on its A380s, which is seven more than it uses for its 747-400.
• Some custom-made A380s contains double beds, luxurious shower spas, VIP cocktail lounges and up to 6 self serve snack bars.