Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Skymark's first Airbus A380 completes maiden flight.

On April 8th, Airbus announced that Skymark Airlines' (BC/SKY) first Airbus A380 had successfully completed its maiden flight from Toulouse/Blagnac (TLS/LFBO) on April 2nd. The second flight followed on the next day. It is the 162nd example to roll off the production line.
Airbus A380-841 F-WWSL/JA380A takes to the skies for the first time. (Photo: Airbus)

Wearing test registration F-WWSL, A380-841 JA380A will soon be ferried to Hamburg/Finkenwerder (XFW/EDHI) to have its interior fitted, including seats and galleys. Skymark will configure the aircraft in an all-premium 394-seat layout; 114 '170-degree angled' (near-flat) business class seats with a pitch of 152 centimeters (60 inches) and 280 premium economy seats with a pitch of 97 centimeters (38 inches).

JA380A is expected to be delivered in late August or early September, with their second to follow in October. One each will arrive in 2015 and 2016, with the fifth and sixth to be delivered in 2017. Japan's third largest carrier hopes to place the European behemoth into service on the Tokyo/Narita (NRT/RJAA) - New York/John F. Kennedy (JFK/KJFK) route in December this year, with London and Frankfurt planned for 2015 - 2016. Up to nine additional airframes may be acquired, and cities being considered include Bangkok, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Paris, Rome, Singapore, and Vancouver.

Like with their recently-delivered all-premium A330s (Skymark Airlines' first two Airbus A330s delivered.), Skymark's configuring of A380s in a similar layout is in accordance with their strategy (Skymark posts loss but optimistic with strategy tweaks.) to differentiate itself from the competition and carve out its own niche. What may seem like a dangerous bet configuring these wide-body Airbuses with all-premium seating "is logical", according to President and CEO Shinichi Nishikubo, who adds "demand for affordable premium seats is big but supply is small, both for domestic and international".

Source: FlyTeam, April 3rd. (in Japanese)

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