Hundreds of people occupied every vantage point around the airport this afternoon to watch the first landing in Malta of an A380, the biggest passenger aircraft in the world.

The double-decker aircraft, operated by Lufthansa, impressed not only by its size, but also because it is very quiet.

It is here for a brief stopover in the course of an extended training flight that will also take the world’s biggest airliner to Warsaw and Istanbul.

Its pilot delighted those watching by performing a touch and go - landing and taking off again before landing at 3.18 p.m. for its 90 minute stop.

It made another touch and go on its departure and wagged its wings twice in a final salute.

The A380 flew for the first time in late April 2005 and made the first commercial flight in October 2007.

Seating 526 passengers in Lufthansa’s three-class configuration, the A380 can carry about 60 per cent more passengers than the Boeing 747-400 now in service. It can take 35 million ping pong balls. Four million parts and 500 kilometres of electric wiring were used in the building of the aircraft.

The aircraft, which is just over 24 metres high and 73 metres long with a wingspan of just under 80 metres, takes on every flight 300 trolleys and boxes and 40,000 catering related items.

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