Singapore Airlines A380-841 (c/n 045) 9V-SKJ climbs from Rwy 25L at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX/KLAX) on November 11, 2011.
(Photo by Michael Carter)
Spirit’s short boarding time impressed me. But now I find that at LAX, Singapore Airlines can board an A380 with about 470 passengers in 40 to 45 minutes.
What’s the secret? There are two. First of all, in the new Tom Bradley International Terminal, nine of the 18 gates are built specifically for the A380. This means they have three jetways per aircraft. And secondly, according to Singapore spokesman James Boyd, any widebody aircraft has an advantage over a narrowbody aircraft when it comes to boarding, because generally passengers can select which aisle to use to approach their seat. If one aisle is jammed, passengers will select the other.
The airport staged a public preview of the new terminal on Saturday. Much of the focus was on soaring architecture and the shopping options. In fact, Singapore and other carriers have been operating at the remodeled gates for several months.
Boyd said the turn time for an A380, from the time it arrives at the gate until the time it leaves, is 110 minutes to 135 minutes, depending on the airport. (At Singapore Changi Airport, the turn time is 110 minutes). That includes time for security, catering, fueling and cleaning.
“Managing turn time efficiently is critical for the profitable, efficient operation of an airline,” Boyd said. Having an attractive and efficient terminal, like the one LAX now offers, is important, he said, because passengers “want to be able to board aircraft in an elegant, civilized manner.” From LAX, Singapore flies to Tokyo’s Narita Airport, then continues on to Singapore. The carrier also operates an A380 from New York’s Kennedy International Airport to Singapore via Frankfurt.
Airbus spokesman Clay McConnell said LAX benefits from having three-jetway boarding for the A380. “The large gateway airports compete with each other for business,” he said. “It’s important for LAX to offer this type of upgrade in order to maintain its status as a premier gateway for the Pacific Rim.” Among other world gateways, international airports in Paris, San Francisco and Singapore also offer three-jetway A380 boarding.
Other airlines flying A380s from LAX include AirFrance, China Southern, Korean and Qantas. British Airways and Emirates are scheduled to begin A380 service to LAX this year.
(Ted Reed -Forbes)