Whoever wants to transport a theoretical number of 853 passengers over a distance of up to 15 700km (8500 nautical miles) at a speed of Mach 0.85 needs a machine, which they sell in Toulouse, France. It has a price tag of approximately $430 million and a maximum takeoff weight of 560 tons. The thing is called Airbus A380. With its first flight in 2005, it became the new queen of the skies, a position held by Boeing’s 747 for 38 years. By today, 195 Airbus A380s fly our skies. Lufthansa, rated as one of the world’s best airlines, has 14 of them.
One of those will come to Sofia next Sunday, October 16 2016, at around noon.
It will be the first time an A380 touches down on the only runway Sofia Airport has to offer. This airport is not even equipped for the “fat one”, but that does not matter much, as long as this kind of visit happens once only.
Mario Bakanov is the only Bulgarian A380 pilot with Lufthansa. Guess who will be flying the big bird to Sofia. Yes, he will be taking it home. This big event at Sofia Airport is being co-organized by the German Embassy Sofia and Lufthansa Technik, which operates a huge service hangar in Sofia. To the mother company, Lufthansa, this special flight is a promotional event, with which they want to make Bulgarian customers aware of their A380 destinations in North America and Asia.
In San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong or Sydney, an A380 is not really a unique sight anymore. But in Sofia it definitely is. The huge aircraft, which outperforms the 747 in many ways, will be visible from parts of Sofia, shortly before it touches down. And it will be even more visible to Lufthansa passengers who book those long-distance flights at special rates from October 14th to 17th, 2016.
With 550 square meters of floor space, the A380 provides 40% more room than the Boeing 747-8i, the latest model. It is also more economic. And it’s a European product. To those of us, who used to fly DC-10s and 747-100s, back and forth across the Atlantic in the 1970-s and 80-s, this modern aircraft would definitely give much more comfort. And security. There have not been any accidents involving A380s. In one case, a Qantas A380 blew an engine in flight. But that wasn’t Airbus’ fault.
So, let’s get ready for the big one on the big day. No, we won’t need binoculars. The plane is so big, it can be spotted from Sinemorets, while it is standing on the tarmac in Sofia.
Update October 16th, 2016: Watch our special video report on the A380’s landing at Sofia Airport.