The world’s first commercial flight of the A380 landed at Sydney Airport on Thursday 25 October 2007. The flight, by Singapore Airlines, was a milestone in global aviation.
The arrival of the Airbus A380 and other new generation aircraft means an increase in passenger numbers through Sydney Airport.
Sydney Airport has planned for an A380 capacity of around 500 passengers which is a 30 per cent to 50 per cent increase over other planes.
The A380 will carry more passengers over longer distances, allowing for projected passenger growth worldwide. It will achieve this with significantly reduced noise and emission levels.
The A380 is a large aircraft. It has a wing span 15 metres greater than the 747, and its maximum takeoff weight is 560 tonnes, compared with 391 tonnes for the 747.
New-generation engines, combined with an advanced wing and landing gear design, make the A380 significantly quieter than other large aircraft.
Sydney Airport has spent $128 million upgrading its infrastructure. The upgrade commenced in 2004. It was a complex engineering task to undertake such extensive construction while maintaining normal daily operations at Australia’s busiest airport. The major airfield works included widening of pavement shoulders to runways and taxiways, airfield services protection, and re-alignment of Taxiway A.
A significant issue was the strengthening of the General Holmes Drive Tunnel, under the main runway, to cope with the additional weight of the A380. This involved inserting 246 precast concrete planks into the runway and taxiway. The concrete planks were six to 12 metres long and up to 14 tonnes in weight.
To ensure that Sydney Airport’s normal operations could continue without interruption all construction work had to be performed during the curfew hours.
Another major project was the relocation of Taxiway G east of Taxiway D to accommodate the clearances necessary for the A380 wingspan. Works to allow the construction of the new section of Taxiway Golf included the demolition of two existing hangars, relocation of the perimeter road and the construction of temporary Taxiways DOM 4 and GA1.
New aerobridges have been built to service the A380. The aerobridges service the three access doors on the A380 – one to the upper deck and two to the lower.
You can view the video about Sydney Airport’s preparations for the A380 below.