RAF Fairford

The first of British Airways A380s made its first official appearance at the weekend as it took part at the Royal International Air Tattoo.

The tattoo took place at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and involved the A380 flying in formation with the world-famous Red Arrows.

Captaining the aircraft was British Airways pilot Charles Everett although it was senior first officer Peter Nye who was at the controls. Earlier last week, the A380 and Red Arrows were seen practising for the show in the skies above Manston Airport in Kent where the aircraft is based for final training and trials.



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.