Largest airplane arrives at MIA
MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Fla. (WSVN) -- The world's largest airplane has landed in South Florida.
The world's largest, heaviest and most fuel-efficient commercial passenger plane, Lufthansa's Airbus 380 arrived at Miami International Airport on Friday, at approximately 1:40 p.m. "This is a flying five-star hotel, and we're really excited about this," said Assistant Aviation Director for Public Safety Lauren Stover.
The double decker plane carries more than 500 passengers. There are 420 seats in economy class, 98 seats in business class and only eight luxury seats in first class. The $12,000 first-class seats convert into beds, and passengers in first class are given their own personal locker and set of pajamas.
Passengers who arrived in MIA onboard the A380 mentioned that they had a wonderful flight. "Excellent. Just a great flight. It was very easygoing, very silent," said one passenger, Peter Steinmueller.
Passenger Ana Laniado's pet pooch also enjoyed the inaugural flight. "She barked a little bit because there was a lot of action on the plane, but [it's a] big plane," she said.
Traffic was backed up on State Road 836 around MIA as onlookers waited to catch a glimpse of the massive aircraft. Victor Duran witnessed the aircraft's landing and said the A380 lived up to his expectations. "It's just incredible," said Duran.
"Amazing. Really amazing. We actually got off the Dolphin Expressway, just parked over in a really dangerous area. That was not very smart, but my husband had to have a videotape from the minute it came out of the clouds," said one onlooker, Jamie Badoino. "It definitely deserves the celebration that it's getting because it holds so many passengers, and it's just amazing to see an airplane that's so big."
The plane's arrival at MIA is more than three years in the making. MIA is the fifth airport in the United States to receive the plane, and Miami-Dade County invested $4 million in conditioning a special terminal to accommodate the A380.
Officials expect the aircraft to generate a lot of tourist dollars for the county. Miami-Dade Aviation Director Jose Abreu said, "With an aircraft that carries, and the Lufthansa configuration is 526 passengers, the tourism, and this is a daily flight. Not even seasonal. It's a daily flight, every day. It's major."
The aircraft is scheduled to depart from MIA at 7:40 p.m., Friday night.
(Copyright 2011 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)