The Italian Almanac

inside the Airbus

Ready to Land

Rome's Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Fiumicino is ready to welcome the arrival of the new Airbus 380 aircraft, the world's largest passenger jetliner, airport officials said. The new double-decker plane, which can carry as many as 853 passengers, made its commercial maiden voyage on a Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to Sydney, Australia.

"Thanks to three parking places at our west satellite terminal for intercontinental flights and three other parking areas, as well as infrastructure services for passengers, Fiumicino is the first Italian airport ready to welcome the new giant of the skies," an airport official said.

Known as the 'superjumbo', the A380 has a range of 15,200km, long enough to fly New York to Hong Kong non-stop, and has a cruising speed of some 900kph. Singapore Airlines reduced the plane's passenger capacity to 470 in order to offer top-price luxury suits. Tickets for the maiden voyage were auctioned off for charity, with some passengers paying more than $100,000.