The Federal Aviation Administration decides which airports meet the standards necessary to host an aircraft as large as the Airbus A380. In order to handle the world's largest commercial airliner, an airport must have taxiways wide enough for the plane to manoeuvre. The airlines are left to decide whether their gates and their jetways are large enough at each airport to accommodate this aircraft. A spokesman for Airbus claims that any airport that can handle a Boeing 747 can handle an Airbus A380, but according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution airports are widening their taxiways so that the A380's wide-set engines do not draw debris onto runways. A few airports in the U.S. are ready for the Airbus A380, including Miami, Orlando, JFK and San Francisco International airports.
Miami International Airport
The German airline Lufthansa will be the first airline to bring the Airbus A380 to Miami International Airport on June 10, 2011. Lufthansa will operate regular flights between Frankfurt and Miami. The first flight between the two cities will be Flight 463, which will depart Miami at 4:10 p.m. on June 10 and arrive in Frankfurt the next day. The plane will then turn around and leave Frankfurt at 9:55 a.m. and arrive in Miami at 1:50 p.m.
Orlando International Airport
The first Airbus A380 to land at Orlando International Airport arrived on November 13, 2007. Orlando International Airport had to upgrade its four runways in order to accommodate the size and weight of the A380; it was the first airport in Florida to greet the world's largest commercial aeroplane. Airlines flying the A380 to Orlando International Airport will include Lufthansa, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
JFK International Airport
The first Airbus A380 arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport on August 1, 2008. The plane was being flown by Emirates Air and had come from Dubai. Due to a sudden change in wind direction, the plane had to land on a shorter runway, causing it to descend faster and barely clear the trees around the runway. John F. Kennedy Airport spent an estimated £65 million widening and improving its jetways and taxiways in order to accommodate the new aircraft.
San Francisco International Airport
On May 10, 2011, Lufthansa flew its first Airbus A380 to San Francisco International Airport, arriving at 12:01 p.m. On-board the flight were a small number of passengers, alongside media and Lufthansa executives. From then on, daily flights are scheduled between San Francisco and Frankfurt, with the A30 Flight 454 arriving in San Francisco at 12:05 p.m. and leaving at 2:20 p.m.
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- Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Airport Prepares for Super Jumbo Jet
- Miami Airport: Lufthansa to Introduce First-Ever A380 Service to Miami
- NY Times: City Room: Airbus A380 Arrives at a Diminished JFK
- Orlando Airports: Orlando International Welcomes the A380: The World's Largest Passenger Aircraft