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  • PICTURES & VIDEO: Emirates claims A380 model at Heathrow gateway is world’s largest

PICTURES & VIDEO: Emirates claims A380 model at Heathrow gateway is world’s largest

Emirates has formally unveiled a 45-tonne model of the Airbus A380 which has been constructed on the entrance road to London Heathrow Airport, after the Middle Eastern carrier took over the advertising site from British Airways last year.

Built by California-based Penwal Industries, the model 24m long with a wingspan of 26m – a one-third scale replica – and comparable in size to a Bombardier CRJ200.

“We expect this landmark site to become an icon for both Heathrow and Emirates,” said Emirates president Tim Clark, speaking at a short ceremony today ahead of the carrier’s accepting its first A380 next week.

Emirates Airline President, Tim Clark

The prime section of advertising real-estate, located north of the tunnel under Heathrow’s runway 09L/27R, was acquired by Emirates in April 2007. British Airways had held the site for 16 years and had installed a scale model of a BAC-Aerospatiale Concorde at the entrance to Heathrow.

“While the previous Concorde model represented the past, our A380 represents the future – and it is a future of cleaner, quieter aircraft,” says Clark.

The Emirates A380 model which replaces BAC-Aerospatiale Concorde on the approach to Heathrow

The model is built from glass-reinforced plastic covering a steel frame. It was flown from Ontario in California to Heathrow on 5 July by a chartered Antonov An-124, operated by Russian carrier Polet. Once in London a mechanical ramp, brought in specially from Germany, was used to unload the 10 components.

Emirates thinks the model is a candidate for a world record, and has submitted a formal application for it to be recognised as such.

Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy, who attended today’s ceremony, said: “It is fitting that the world’s largest commercial aircraft is replicated by what we believe is the world’s biggest aircraft model at the world’s busiest international airport.”

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