Manston Airport

As predicted on this website, British Airways 3rd destination for the A380 will be Johannesburg in South Africa.

Flights will commence from Heathrow on 12th February and, initially, will operate 3 times a week before increasing to 6 times a week from 10th March.

Prices start from £872 return in World Traveller (economy), £1,382 return in World Traveller Plus (premium economy), £3,274 return in Club World (business class) and £6,179 in First.

The A380 service will be incorporated into British Airways existing schedule and will therefore result in a significant increase in capacity. Although the airline has not yet indicated which aircraft the A380 will replace (both the 747 and 777 are currently used on the route) it seems almost certain that it will be the 747.

To celebrate the news of the new service British Airways invited rugby stars Chris Robshaw, Bryan Habana and Jean De Villiers (combined weight approx 300kgs) to tow the A380 (366,000kgs) down the runway at Manston airport in Kent.

British Airways A380 Launch










On Monday, the first of British Airways new A380s flew into Manston airport in Kent where it will be based for further trials and crew training.

British Airways has 12 A380s on order with the first aircraft set to enter into service between Heathrow & Los Angeles in September followed by flights between Heathrow & Hong Kong from October. Each aircraft carries some 469 passengers split between 4 cabins – World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Club World & First.

Commenting on the arrival of the A380, Charles Buchanan, CEO of Manston Airport had this to say: “It’s exciting to think that Manston welcomed the first of our national flag carrier’s A380s, and that Kent saw the distinctive union flag tail-fin before Los Angeles and Hong Kong, the airline’s first routes for the new aircraft. We welcomed Prime Minister David Cameron recently when he officially opened the London Array wind farm and Manston’s potential did not go unnoticed. With the debate over the future provision of airport capacity in the south east currently raging, the decision by British Airways to use Manston for training graphically illustrates the capability, flexibility and capacity of the largest under-utilised runway in the region.”

Manston airport is located in south east Kent, close to the seaside towns of Ramsgate, Margate & Broadstairs, and was originally an RAF base. The long runway and relative lack of any other flights (KLM fly twice daiy to Amsterdam), together with its relative proximity to London, convinced British Airways that Manston was the ideal destination to base the aircraft for final testing and crew training.

Anyone at Manston yesterday would also have been lucky enough to also witness the arrival of 2 Red Arrows aircraft which briefly flew in formation with the A380 as a practise run for the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on Saturday.





British Airways new A380 took to the skies over France yesterday as part of the Paris Air Show.

British Airways has orders for 12 A380s with the first aircraft set to be delivered to the airline in the first week of July. It will then be briefly based at Manston Airport in Kent for further tests and training before being introduced on short-haul routes within Europe as part of the airline’s crew familiarisation programme. Although the airline hasn’t advised which routes will be served as part of this process, most industry observers expect Paris, Frankfurt & Madrid to be the most likely destinations.

The first scheduled A380 service will be on 15th October between Heathrow & Los Angeles followed a month later on 15th November between Heathrow & Hong Kong. Future routes might include Sao Paulo, New York, Johannesburg, Lagos, Singapore, Tokyo & Beijing. British Airways will be one of the only airlines to offer a 4 cabin service with World Traveller, World Traveller Plus, Club World & First.




Within the next few weeks, Manston Airport in South East Kent will play host to two of the world’s most advanced passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

British Airways takes delivery of its first 2 Dreamliners on consecutive days at the  end of June, followed by the first of its A380s at the start of July. Before either aircraft can go into full operational service however, the airline needs to go through a rigorous process of staff training and familiarisation.

ManstonHeathrow is already full, and Gatwick would present difficulties, while Manston, an ex RAF base, has one of the longest runways in the UK and plenty of space for the airline to operate. Commenting on their choice of airport, Dave Thomas, head of flight training at British Airways had this to say: “Manston offers ideal facilities for our programme. We are looking forward to working with the staff who have been very helpful throughout the preparation period.”

A clearly delighted Charles Buchanan, chief executive of the airport, echoed these sentiments:  “We are thrilled that the UK’s leading airline chose Manston as the place to carry out its entry into service programme. Essentially, this means that training for both the pilots and cabin crew will be taking place over three weeks with the aircraft departing from here once or twice a day and also staying overnight.”

Anyone who has ever been to Manston will know that viewing aircraft there is pretty straightforward and we can therefore reasonably expect the arrival of these two groundbreaking aircraft to attract more people to the airport than currently use it for passenger services – currently limited to a double daily KLM service to Amsterdam.

British Airways has 12 A380s on order as well as 42 787s. The first scheduled A380 service commences on 15th October between Heathrow & Los Angeles, followed on 15th November by flights between Heathrow & Hong Kong. So far British Airways have made no announcement as to where the first 787s will fly although the expectation is that it will be somewhere in the US.

British Airways A380 Flying Above Clouds