Growing number of US cities ready for A380: Eccleston

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Orlando, Miami and Chicago are among the growing list of US cities that have the airport infrastructure in place to handle the introduction of Airbus A380 service, Airbus North America president and CEO Barry Eccleston says.

At present, New York JFK plays host to the most A380 operators. Air France, Emirates and now Lufthansa offer A380 service to the airport. A fourth operator, Korean Air will initiate A380 service on the Seoul-New York JFK route in August and on the Seoul-Los Angeles route in October.

Los Angeles currently facilitates Qantas' A380 service, but will see Singapore Airlines and Korean serve the airport with A380s this year. San Francisco will welcome the A380 when Lufthansa introduces service from Frankfurt in May with the double-decker aircraft. The city has been "well ready" for the A380, Eccleston said yesterday during Lufthansa's celebration of new A380 service to JFK.

Eccleston noted that Los Angeles has "more work to do to develop the capability in Los Angeles to receive a lot more flights".

Asked to name other "A380-ready" airports, Eccleston said: "We've checked out places like Orlando. Miami would probably be another key destination. So we have a number of cities. We've been to Chicago of course and I'd imagine that they'll have flight fairly soon."

Meanwhile, Eccleston says passengers are going "out of their way" to fly on the A380. "We have statistical data that shows passengers will book deliberately on the A380. Our load factors are way above 90%," he says.

Some 10 million passengers having flown on the type, he adds.