Daily A380 service between Houston and Frankfurt begins today – Upgrades to airport's runway and terminal accommodate world's largest passenger aircraft
HOUSTON, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lufthansa will be the first airline to introduce the Airbus A380, the world's most technologically-advanced and largest passenger aircraft, to the Lone Star State. To commemorate this historic occasion, Mayor Annise Parker has declared August 1, 2012, Lufthansa Airlines Day in Houston. Inaugural flight LH440 departed Frankfurt at 10:10 a.m. and is scheduled to arrive at George Bush Intercontinental Airport at 1:50 p.m.
In addition to regularly scheduled passengers, flying on this inaugural flight is a delegation of esteemed customers and Houston-area media. Upon landing, the aircraft will be greeted by a celebratory water arch and after disembarking via the airport's newly constructed double-decker jet bridge, passengers will be welcomed by Mayor Parker; Mario Diaz, Director of the Houston Airport System (HAS); and Juergen Siebenrock, Vice President of the Americas at Lufthansa.
The return flight, LH441, is scheduled to depart Houston this evening at 6:20 p.m., arriving in Frankfurt at 11:05 a.m. the following day. Beyond the August 1 inaugural flight, LH441 will normally depart Houston at 4:20 p.m. and arrive in Frankfurt at 9:05 a.m. the following day. Lufthansa's flagship aircraft will provide daily service between Houston and Frankfurt and will increase capacity on this route by approximately 53 percent. Flights are available for booking on www.lufthansa.com.
"We are extremely excited to introduce our flagship A380 aircraft as the very first in the Houston market," said Juergen Siebenrock, Vice President, The Americas for Lufthansa. "I applaud the airport's management team for their determination to become A380-ready. It demonstrates our shared commitment to serving the global travel needs of the area's active business community and discerning leisure traveler, while also embracing the environmental advancements of the A380."
Among the improvements made by HAS to accommodate the world's largest passenger aircraft are a new elevated walkway and passenger loading bridge, including foundations and structure support, electrical updates and the addition of two jet fuel double hydrants in the apron.
"This A380 flight is a symbol of Houston's thriving economy, our commitment to global enterprise, and our investment in infrastructure," said Mayor Annise Parker. "We worked as a team with our stakeholders to ensure all preparations were completed in Terminal D for today's historic flight by the world's largest passenger jet. This is another indication of the ongoing strength of Bush Intercontinental Airport."
Lufthansa, which flies to more than 35 other oil and energy destinations worldwide, has provided service to Houston since 1985. Lufthansa's oil&energyclub offers employees from related industry businesses an assortment of perks such as instant frequent flier status, priority check-in, access to Lufthansa Business Class Lounges, waiting-list priority, greater free baggage allowances and exclusive offers and discounts from selected partners.
"We are thrilled to welcome the A380 to Houston since it offers our customers a heightened flying experience that they will find at no other airport in Texas," said Mario C. Diaz, director of aviation for the Houston Airport System. "Our international traffic continues to grow as a result of the strong business relationships between Houston and Germany and we're delighted to offer a newly renovated area in Terminal D so all who fly on the A380 will enjoy 'opening day fresh' gates, waiting areas and other amenities."
Most fuel-efficient aircraft
The Airbus A380 is the world's most fuel-efficient aircraft, burning about 12 percent less fuel than other wide-body jets, and is approximately 30 percent quieter than the current generation of wide-body aircraft. The airline has ordered a total of 17 A380 aircraft, all scheduled for delivery by 2015. This will make Lufthansa the largest A380 operator in Europe.
Lufthansa's A380 is configured with 526 seats, which results in a 53 percent capacity increase on this route, and features the airline's new First Class product. Located on the upper deck, this space is the quietest cabin in commercial aviation and boasts an air humidification system – the first of its kind to be installed on a commercial aircraft – that improves air humidity to help fight off jet lag. Two large, luxurious bathrooms with separate changing and lavatory areas offer enhanced personal space and storage. The cabin's eight generously proportioned, ergonomic seats measure 6'9" feet in length and 2'7" feet in width and provide the ultimate in comfort and innovation for an exceptional travel experience.
Also located on the upper deck is the world's largest Business Class cabin with 98 seats, featuring improved functionality, including more storage and a power supply that works with all worldwide connections.
The main deck is home to an impressively spacious Economy Class cabin. Each of the 420 seats features an in-seat video screen, an optimized ergonomic design and a slimmer seat back that adds two inches of personal space per passenger.
The Houston Airport System served 49.9 million passengers in 2011. Houston's three airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD) contribute over $27 billion to the regional economy. Visit fly2houston.com and follow us @HobbyAirport and @IAH. Watch video of the A380 on http://www.youtube.com/houstonairports
SOURCE Houston Airport System