30 May 2007

GAO report on implications of the A380

When the huge Airbus A380 does finally enter into commercial service it will have significant implications for airports. Many of the larger airports around the world have been preparing for some time for that day. A report entitled "Commercial Aviation: Potential Safety and Capacity Issues Associated with the Introduction of the New A380 Aircraft", published on 20 April 2007 by the US General Accounting Office (GAO), touches on many of the issues.

A graphic on page 17 of the full report illustrates the separation distances that other aircraft must maintain from a landing A380. In a 1 April 2007 post I noted the A380 capacity issue of slots at congested airports such as London Heathrow. At this stage at least, it seems clear that airlines operating the A380 to congested, slot-controlled airports will not be able to do a simple one-for-one swap with existing take-off and landing slots that they hold.

Having flown light aircraft at Wellington Airport, I am very conscious of the dangers of wake turbulence for smaller aircraft. Of course just about every other aircraft is smaller than an A380!

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