FORT WORTH – Qantas is putting the worldâ€™s biggest passenger plane on the worldâ€™s longest airline route.
A Qantas Airbus A380 touched down Monday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport about 15 hours after leaving Sydney, Australia, on the 8,578-mile journey.
The double-deck, four-engine jet was greeted with a water-cannon salute, then taxied to a two-story gate that was configured just for the behemoth.
The inaugural flight carried a full load of 484 passengers, according to a Qantas spokesman.
DFW is a large airport with connecting flights throughout the U.S. and Latin America, making it ideal for the plane and the route. But the A380â€™s size also limits its appeal. Smaller planes such as Boeingâ€™s latest, the 787, are more economical on many routes.
Qantas previously flew the Sydney-Dallas route with the Boeing 747, which required a stopover in Brisbane, Australia.
â€œThe 747 served us really well, but it doesnâ€™t have the range of the A380,â€ said Qantas Senior Executive Vice President Vanessa Hudson. â€œThe A380 is much bigger, so we can actually now provide 10 percent additional capacity.â€
For travelers wishing to fly the new route, it wonâ€™t be cheap. Hudson said tickets are roughly $1,900 in economy; double that for the roomier seats in premium economy; $7,000 for business class; and $12,000 to $13,000 for first class, where the airline tosses in a set of pajamas and a sheepskin mattress.
The special A380 gate at DFW will be used again on Wednesday, when Gulf airline Emirates begins flying the huge plane between Dallas and Dubai. – Qantas puts worldâ€™s largest plane on longest route