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Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Thursday, 19 August 2010 15:34 UK
Manchester Airport is 'ready' for A380 Super Jumbo
Manchester Airport
The A380 Super Jumbo flies into Manchester on 1 September

Manchester Airport has been declared 'A380 ready' as it prepares to welcome the world's largest passenger aircraft.

From September, Manchester will become the first regional airport in the world to have a regular service by an Airbus A380 Super Jumbo.

To ensure it can handle the massive double decker aircraft, the airport has spent £10m upgrading the airfield.

Managing Director Andrew Cornish said "a lot of hard work has gone into [preparing for] the arrival."

In March 2010, the Emirates airline announced that it would begin flying the huge plane into Manchester, which meant completing the task of getting the airport ready had a concrete deadline.

An Emirates A380 aeroplane
made its maiden flight in April 2005 and first commercial flight in October 2007
has 49% more floor space than the next largest airliner (the Boeing 747-400)
It is 72.73m long, has a wingspan of 79.75m and has a maximum speed of 634mph

Plans for the improvements started long before the announcement by the Dubai-based airline, with the actual work beginning 18 months ago.

Work has centred on reconstructing a dedicated aircraft stand, which includes an advance docking system to guide the pilot into the correct position to connect to a unique double air bridge.

But the sheer size of the plane means that the whole runway system has had to be upgraded.

Taxiways have been widened, realigned and reinforced at junctions and turns, and more than 50 signs - as well as the perimeter fences - have been moved further away from the runways so the aircraft can pass safely.

The airport has also taken the opportunity to upgrade its safety vehicles, bringing in a pair of new firefighting vehicles.

One of the engines has a new 30m extending ladder which can be pulled out over inflated emergency exit chutes, enabling firefighters to reach levels that conventional ladders don't reach.

Two firefighting vehicles at Manchester Airport
The improvements have included the addition of two new fire trucks

The improvements all add up to the airport being certified as 'Category 10' airport by the Civil Aviation Authority (one of only 17 airports in the world with this distinction) a fortnight before the plane makes its debut landing in Manchester.

That means, not only can it handle the A380, but it can also welcome other 'Code F' aeroplanes such as some of the larger freighter aircraft that are operating around the world.

Mr Cornish said that it was "a proud day for Manchester."

Adding: "A lot of hard work and planning has gone into the arrival .... and we're pleased that as an aerodrome we can accept the newest type of aircraft flying today."

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In pictures: Inside the A380
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A380 comes to the UK
18 Mar 08 |  UK
First A380 commercial flight
25 Oct 07 |  World


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