High five to the A380

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

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.

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