High five to the A380
NOTES from my Moleskine, October 26, 2007: ‘‘The A380 lands so noiselessly at Changi airport that I can’t believe we are no longer airborne. My fellow passengers on SQ380 from Sydney share my amazement at this leaf-like descent . . . have we really arrived?’’
It has been five years since Singapore Airlines’ first commercial A380 flight from Australia to Changi and it wasn’t just nerdy planespotters (wing nuts, as I like to call them) who got excited. Not since Boeing 747s were introduced in 1970 had there been such a buzz in the air.
The aircraft is now flown by Qantas, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Air France, China Southern, Korean Air, Lufthansa and Emirates (which has the largest fleet).
Singapore Airlines has also just celebrated 45 years of operations into Australia, which is a grand record. Come on, who doesn’t love those resolutely unchanging sarong kebayas and satay appetisers?
Other leading operators have been celebrating anniversaries this year. The Sydney-based Classic Safari Company has turned 20, while Abercrombie & Kent has marked 50 years of premium adventures around the globe. This weekend will be the 40th anniversary of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, one of the most widely accepted treaties in the world, with 962 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. At its Kyoto meeting this month, discussions on the agenda included the challenges of preserving the cultural heritage landscape of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, where priceless sixth-century cliff- face Buddhas were destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban. The news images of the dynamited monuments still seem horribly fresh.
On a much more minor note, it has been two decades since I was appointed travel editor of The Australian and my gorgeous colleagues Jennifer Campbell and Georgina Windsor also have chalked up 20 years. We will be celebrating in style on November 20. The journeys continue. How time flies.