The first Malta-registered Airbus A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world, has been unveiled before its start of operations.
The aircraft has been in Malta since the start of the month receiving a new livery painted by Aviation Cosmetics at the Safi Aviation Park, where it was formally revealed today by Hi Fly, the Malta-registered wet lease airline operating it.
The A380 has a wingspan of 80 metres and a maximum take-off weight of close to 570 tonnes, as well as carrying as much as 270 tonnes - the weight of a smaller airliner - in fuel.
The Hi Fly model is certified to carry more than 850 passengers, but will be operating worldwide with a more spaced-out 471 seats spread over economy, business and 12 first class ‘suites’.
Hi Fly vice-president Carlos Mirpuri said the acquisition made the carrier just the fourth European airline to operate the model, as well as one of 14 globally and the first leasing airline.
“The performance of the A380 goes in line with Hi Fly’s environmental commitments,” Mr Mirpuri said. “By producing only about 75 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre, the A380 minimizes greenhouse gas emissions being capable of carrying more people with less impact on the environment. Apart from its incomparable efficiency, it also has the quietest and smoothest ride making it a true favourite for both airlines and passengers.”
The aircraft’s new livery reflects this environmental commitment with an ocean theme referencing the company’s “Save the Coral Reefs” campaign, which motto is emblazoned on the tail.
Transport minister Ian Borg hailed the arrival of the massive airliner as a feather in the cap of Malta’s aircraft register, now numbering more than 280.
“Malta today boasts a robust aviation industry with a growing number of registered aircraft,” he said. “We will continue to build on this by aiming to attract more airlines and related services to set up their base in Malta.”