MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami International Airport made aviation history Friday with the arrival of the Airbus 380.
The largest commercial passenger airliner in the world made a successful landing at approximately 1:40 p.m. from Frankfurt, Germany.
South Floridians curious to see the flying behemoth were 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 airport prepared for its inaugural landing and the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Aviation Division was also on location to ensure a smooth landing.
Firefighters rolled out some of their heavy equipment Thursday to check it to make sure they are ready when the Lufthansa owned Airbus 380 arrives.
“It’s a very specialized area of fire rescue operations. Most airports don’t even have an airport of this magnitude to deal with,” said Battalion Chief Jose Herrera, referring to Miami International Airport, one of the largest airports in the country and is now home to the largest passenger aircraft in the world.
The Airbus 380 generally carries 525 passengers; however, it can accommodate more than 800.
The aircraft is 237 feet long and 79 feet high.
“It’s fuel efficient, It’s the new era of aviation and we’re excited in Miami to get this plane,” said Lauren Stover, Miami International Airport Director of Security.
Passengers were just as impressed with the plane as the onlookers gawking at the size.
“Fantastic. It’s really super, very well designed, the noise is really comfortable,” said passenger Doris Kohler.
Even in the economy seats, taller passengers had no problem enjoying the flight.
“Yeah, it was okay. I was comfortable,” said passenger Amit Damir.
And if you want to pay a little extra, luxury awaits on the A380.
There are 98 seats in business class that offer seats that recline to a bed, monitors controlling almost everything, including massages from your seat.
But for the 8 people who can afford the first class-seats, you get your own bathrooms that are bigger than some of your home bathrooms. And when you want some shuteye, they got you covered with private beds.
The airbus will depart 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.
MIA is the fifth airport in the nation and the first in the southeast United States to obtain A380 service, according to airport officials.
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.
The landing of the football-field-sized aircraft was streamed live online and also on jumbo television screens in the South Terminal at Concourse J’s International Greeters Lobby, on the third level.