PICTURES: Qantas puts its first A380 into service

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Australia's Qantas Airways has put its first Airbus A380 into commercial service, becoming the third operator of the ultra-large type.

The Oneworld alliance carrier says its first commercial A380 flight departed Melbourne at 11:15 today and the aircraft is scheduled to land in Los Angeles at 07:30 where it will be met by dignitaries and celebrities.

Qantas took delivery of its first A380 last month and had been using it since then for staff training. Following the inauguration of Melbourne-Los Angeles services today, it will from 24 October operate the aircraft on some of its Sydney-Los Angeles services and from January will use it for some of its services to London via Singapore.

The carrier has another 19 A380s on firm order for delivery through the end of 2013. It is due to take delivery of two more by the end of 2008 and should have eight in service by the end of next year.

Qantas is now the third operator of the A380, after Singapore Airlines and Emirates.

For more images of the A380 take a look in our gallery which boast over 100 pictures