NEW YORK (
said it will fly the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, to New York starting in February.
The largest European airline will fly the 526-seat aircraft to New York's Kennedy Airport, rather than to Newark, where it could offer dozens more connections, because Newark is unable to accommodate the A380.
At Kennedy, A380 passengers will be able to connect to transcontinental flights on
and to 22 destinations on
, also a partner.
"Newark is not ready for the A380, but we believe the JFK-Frankfurt route has the potential to fill the plane," said Lufthansa spokesman Martin Riecken. Revenue from the A380 flight will be available to partners including United under the carriers' anti-trust immunity agreement.
Aviation consultant Robert Mann said it would be nice if the A-380 could fly to Newark, but Lufthansa "has a lot of feed at Frankfurt and a huge local market in New York, so this is probably the best strategy."
Mann said the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey spent the money to upgrade JFK for the 380, but money is tight and Newark is a tightly constrained airport. "You can't upgrade everything," he said. "Kennedy was more feasible."
Lufthansa's fifth 380 will fly Frankfurt-JFK starting Feb. 8. 2011. Initially the flight will operate twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, departing Frankfurt at 11:05 a.m., arriving JFK at 1:35 p.m. The return flight will leave JFK at 4:10 p.m. and arrive in Frankfurt at 5:50 a.m.
By mid-April, service will be daily, Lufthansa said. The carrier also uses the A380 on flights to Tokyo, Beijing and Johannesburg. "New York is one of the most important markets for Lufthansa, so it was imperative for us to launch transatlantic flights on our flagship aircraft to this U.S. gateway," said Jens Bischof, vice president for the Americas, in a prepared statement.
The A380 is becoming increasingly common at U.S. airports.
has flown the aircraft to JFK from Paris since Nov. 20 and will begin daily service to Washington Dulles from Paris in June 2011.
has flown to Kennedy from Dubai since Oct. 31.
had flown to Los Angeles from Sydney, but discontinued those flights after its A380 engines experienced problems. It is unclear when the flights will resume.
-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
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