Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is set to hit a milestone today with the scheduled launch of flights from Atlanta on the world’s largest passenger airliner — the Airbus A380 super jumbo jet.
After earlier delays in its plans, Korean Air’s flight from Atlanta to Seoul on the 407-seat double-decker A380 is slated for takeoff at 1:10 p.m. this afternoon.
Hartsfield-Jackson spent about $30 million on improvements to accommodate the massive aircraft, including gate modifications on Concourse E and widening of taxiways and runways.
Airport general manager Louis Miller has said the A380 service would “enhance Atlanta’s reputation as a world-class city and gateway to the United States.”
Although Korean Air operates 10 flights from Atlanta to Asia each week, it will use the A380 only for flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Daily A380 service from Atlanta is set to launch in late October.
Korean Air’s Atlanta-Seoul traffic has been growing 10 percent annually, according to the airline’s vice president of Americas marketing John Jackson, who in a written statement called the A380 a “game changer for the region.”
Boeing’s next-generation plane, the Boeing 787, is smaller and was designed as a more fuel-efficient aircraft. But it ran into a series of issues earlier this year, including problems with battery systems, which led to the grounding of the aircraft for about three months.
Significance: World’s largest commercial aircraft in operation
Seating: 301 economy-class seats, 94 lie-flat seats and 12 first-class suites in Korean Air’s configuration
Amenities: Korean Air A380s have three bars, a duty-free shop and a spiral staircase to an upstairs “Prestige Class”
Range: 8,500 nautical miles
Length: 238 feet, 7 inches
Wing span: 261 feet, 8 inches