British Airways will welcome the two newest additions to its fleet on Thursday July 4 with the launch of the flag-carrier’s first Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing 787 Dreamliner at London’s Heathrow Airport.
The planes represent twin milestones for BA and are part of a ten-year A$8.2 billion upgrade to the airline’s long-distance fleet, which will include retiring the older and less fuel-efficient Boeing 747-400 jumbos.
BA’s fleet modernisation program also includes six new Boeing 777-300ERs along with orders for a further 18 Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350 jets.
“Over the next 12 months, we will take delivery of new long-haul aircraft at an average rate of one every two weeks” said BA Chief Executive Officer Keith Williams.
British Airways will fly its Boeing 787 to Toronto beginning September 1, with London-Newark following on October 1.
BA's Airbus A380 is slated for flights from London to Los Angeles from September 24, and Hong Kong from October 2.
Ahead of their long-distance debuts, the Boeing 787s and Airbus A380s will also be rostered onto BA flights to Stockholm and Frankfurt in a 'surprise and delight' exercise during August.
Inside the British Airways Airbus A380
BA's twelve A380 superjumbos will carry 469 passengers across four classes.
Most notable about BA's superjumbo seating plan is that it splits business class over two decks – the first A380 configuration to do so.
The lower deck is the domain of 14 lush first class mini-suites, which BA promises will have "extra personal and stowage space" due to the A380's wider main deck compared to the current fleet of Boeing 747s and Boeing 777s.
Back behind the curtain will sit 44 Club World business class seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, followed by 199 World Traveller economy seats arranged 3-4-3.
Upstairs are a further 56 Club World business class seats in a 2-3-2 layout over two four-row cabins. (Yes, we know the BA seatmap itself says 53 seats, but with eight rows of seven seats, you do the maths!)
There's also a compact World Traveller Plus premium economy cabin of 55 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, plus 104 more World Traveller economy seats arranged 2-4-2.
BA has released a video providing the first glimpse of its A380 cabin and seats.
As Australian Business Traveller revealed last year, the superjumbo offers "an evolution of the current seat" in BA's Club World business class seat rather than an all-new design.
This includes a 2-3-2 arrangement and the alternating backwards-forwards design.
Of course, first class is as swanky as ever.
The video also shows the slim-line economy seats of the Word Traveller and World Traveller Plus cabins.
Inside the British Airways Boeing 787
BA's Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner will carry 214 passengers divided into the predictable mix of business, premium economy and economy, with the airline continuing the trend reported by Boeing of dropping first class.
35 Club World business class seats sit at the pointy end in a new 'triple' configuration of 2-3-2, the same as upstairs on the A380. The extra space to the side of centre seats also appears on the A380 upstairs.
That's followed by 25 World Traveller Plus premium economy seats laid out 2-3-2, and 154 World Traveller economy seats split 3-3-3.
Australian Business Traveller will be attending BA's Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 launch event in London as a guest of British Airways.
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