The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, revisited Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Wednesday, November 28th.

The aircraft, which first visited LAX in March, departed and landed for a demonstration flight Thursday, November 29th, and then left LAX for Sydney, Australia Friday, November 30th.

The visit was conducted by Airbus, Qantas Airways and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the city agency that operates LAX, to test airport function and compatibility in anticipation of Qantas’s A380 passenger service at LAX scheduled to begin in the fall next year.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the airport’s terminal facilities will be ready for the next generation of aircraft thanks to a billion-dollar modernization initiative, and that needed improvements will continue as LAX competes for international flights of new large aircraft in the coming years.

“Los Angeles is the obvious destination for the first U.S. flights of new large aircraft, so it is critical that LAX has the infrastructure necessary to receive them,” Villaraigosa said. “We are investing the resources necessary to be ready for next generation aircraft and to preserve LAX’s status as a premier international gateway.

“The return of the A380 to LAX is a significant milestone in our momentous journey.”

LAX is expected to be the first U.S. destination of an A380 passenger flight next year, provided by Qantas Airways, airport officials said.

LAX is considered a dominant gateway for travel to every region in the world and the leading gateway for travel to the Asia/Pacific region, airport officials said. Asia/Pacific carriers account for 40 percent of A380 orders and by 2012, LAX is expected to have 12 daily A380 flights, the most of any airport in North America, officials said.

In a briefing to Villaraigosa, city officials and executives of Airbus Americas and Qantas Airways, Los Angeles World Airports executive director Gina Marie Lindsey highlighted recently completed and ongoing airfield and terminal improvements.

The upgrades are expected to help preserve the airport’s international gateway status, improve passenger experiences, reduce congestion at existing terminals and position LAX to effectively compete for large aircraft flights, airport officials said.

Since the beginning of Villaraigosa’s administration, more than $1 billion has been invested in airport modernization projects.

Villaraigosa also noted that the A380 and other next-generation aircraft utilize new technologies that will benefit airport neighbors by releasing lower emissions and reducing noise by 50 percent compared to current large aircraft.

“The City of Los Angeles, Airbus, LAWA and Qantas have been working closely together for a number of years to prepare for the arrival of this remarkable aircraft, which will offer both environmental advantages and state-of-the-art passenger comfort and convenience,” said Wally R. Mariani, Qantas Airways senior executive vice president, The Americas and Pacific. “The preparation that has been required at LAX has been enormous and we are very excited that Qantas will host the inaugural A380 passenger service to LAX in 2008.”

Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas, added, “Airbus wants to recognize the tremendous progress LAWA has made through the leadership of the mayor, City Council and Board of Airport Commissioners in preparing LAX for the next generation of environmentally friendly aircraft.”

“LAX is secured as the premiere A380 gateway to America.”

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