U.S. airports face potential safety challenges with the arrival of the much-hyped, double-decker Airbus A380, nicknamed “Superjumbo” and touted as the largest passenger jet in the world.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says in a new report we obtained that most U.S. airports will need to modify their infrastructure or at least impose operating restrictions, including “required” increased separation between the A380 and other aircraft during landings and takeoffs because of the strong air turbulence created by the A380’s wake.
“The A380 also poses challenges for fire and rescue officials due to its larger size, upper deck, fuel capacity and the number of pas- sengers,” says the GAO, which conducted site visits to 18 U.S. airports preparing to welcome the A380. (Officials at Washington Dulles International Airport say they will have to modify loading ramps at the gates to accommodate the big bird; otherwise, they see no major problems.)
With an economy-class layout, the jet can seat a whopping 853 passengers.