The Airbus A380 landed on schedule at Los Angeles International Airport just after 9:30 a.m. today, as thousands of spectators inside and outside the airport sneaked a peek at the the world's largest passenger jet.
The plane completed its maiden voyage to America from Toulouse, France three weeks after Airbus agreed after reneging on a previous agreement to have the A380 include LAX on its maiden voyage. Another jet landed at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport around the same time Monday.
After the jet touched down, the aircraft taxied to the Imperial Terminal on the airport's south side for a welcoming ceremony, attended by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as Airbus and Qantas executives. The plane will park at the terminal until 2 p.m.
Los Angeles's airport agency has spent about $50 million on improvements to LAX in order to handle the A380. Projects included enlarging runways and taxiways as well as building a two-story gate for the jet. The airport agency has more than $121 million budgeted for the improvements. However, Airbus has complained the airport is not moving ahead fast enough, given that LAX is expected to be the second largest A380 hub in the world outside of Heathrow Airport in London.
The 239-foot-long jet can seat up to 550 passengers, hold 81,890 gallons of fuel, cruise at 560 mph and fly more than 8,000 nautical miles.
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