This year marks 15 years since the Airbus A380 performed its first commercial flight. It was a joyous day after years of anticipation for the superjumbo to finally enter service with Singapore Airlines. With the milestone coming up, we thought we’d share some pictures from the inauguration.

A grand occasion

Holding C/N 3, registration 9V-SKA performed its maiden flight on May 7th, 2006, and according to ch-aviation, was delivered to Singapore Airlines on October 12th, 2007. SIA was excited to get the plane in the air, looking forward to showcasing all its benefits, including 50% more floor space than the next largest airliner.

Members of the media from across the globe were on hand for the big day. Photo: The Airchive

It was heavily promoted that the A380 could fit well over 800 passengers. However, Singapore Airlines, configured its aircraft to offer the capacity for 471 over two decks. Like other operators of the type, the goal was to maximize revenue from premium passenger segments.

Passengers were eager to get in the air. Photo: The Airchive

Passengers were paying tens of thousands of dollars each to be on the historic flight. However, for the four pilots on board the plane, the excitement was more subdued. Pilot Robert Ting noted that flying the plane was like controlling any other big jet. However, he appreciated the modern technology that cut the need for paper copies of manuals.

Captain Ting was in close communication with the passengers on the day. Photo: The Airchive

Up in the skies

Thus, on October 25th, 2007, the A380 took off from Singapore Changi to head to Sydney Airport. Flight SQ380's gates opened at 06:50. Passengers got there extra early to enjoy the buffet, press conference, and music quartet.

There was plenty of fanfare. Photo: The Airchive

The A380-841 then emerged from the darkness to an ecstatic crowd. Boarding began at 07:15 on the dot and the plane was pushed back at precisely 08:00.

Airbus A380, Singapore Airlines, First Flight
Student Francis Wu celebrated his 22nd birthday with SIA's crew on the flight. Photo: Getty Images

After leveling off, the 31-member cabin crew prepared champagne for passengers from 35 different nationalities on board. Those flying enjoyed new amenities such as the next-generation IFE with 100 movies and 80 TV shows. Yet, it was upstairs that grabbed the headlines.

The Airbus A380 broke ground when it came to room for movement. Photo: The Airchive

The customized leather seats in a 1-2-1 formation were fitted with 15.4 in (39 cm) KrisWorld LCD screens, a notable luxury for the time. Additionally, the Singapore Suites were the epitome of class during this period.

The A380 provides unmatched relaxation. Photo: The Airchive

The A380 touched Sydney Airport’s runway at around 17:15 and blocked into the gate at 17:24 - 7 hours and 6 minutes after leaving Singapore. So, history was made with this inaugural superjumbo flight. The plane would return to Singapore the next day.

Appetizers on the first flight: Photo: The Airchive

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15 years later

9V-SKA left Singapore AIrlines' fleet at the end of 2017 and has since been scrapped. Moreover, Airbus recently delivered its final unit of the type - just a decade and a half of its first commercial operation. Overall, there has been a lack of demand amid a rapidly-changing industry, catalyzing the requirement for more efficient twinjets.

The aircraft over Singapore: Photo: The Airchive

Nonetheless, the Airbus A380 has undoubtedly left a mark on the industry when it comes to passenger experience. There may never be another aircraft quite like the superjumbo.

What are your thoughts about the Airbus A380? What do you make of the experience in the cabin? Let us know what you think of the plane and its operations in the comment section.
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