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Airbus A380 begins Olympics flights

August 02, 2008 11:48:00
Agence France-Presse

SINGAPORE -- The Airbus A380 superjumbo, the world's biggest passenger aircraft, Saturday began special flights to Beijing to meet higher demand ahead of the Olympic Games, Singapore Airlines (SIA) said.

Flight SQ802 left Changi Airport at 8:40 a.m. (0040 GMT), with 25 crew and 385 passengers, among them 12 athletes and 18 officials from the Singapore team, SIA said in a statement.

The daily flights using the double-decker A380 will last until August 8 and is aimed at catering to stronger passenger demand in the week leading up to the Beijing Games.

SIA is the first airline in the world to operate the A380, the largest airliner ever built which the Singapore carrier now uses to fly to Sydney, London and Tokyo.

One of two A380s used for the London route has been temporarily redeployed for the Beijing service.

"Over the next week, several hundred athletes from almost a dozen countries will fly the A380 to Beijing to compete in the Games," SIA said.

The giant aircraft can carry up to 853 passengers but SIA, one of the world's most profitable airlines, chose a setup with a maximum of 471 seats to give passengers more space.

The design includes 12 "suites", each with a full-length bed behind sliding doors, sheets by French design house Givenchy and flat-screen televisions.

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