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San Francisco welcomes the A380

Airbus A380 lands at SFO on its second U.S. tour.

Now boarding
The A380 at SFO Charles Perl

The giant Airbus A380 completed its second U.S. tour today when it landed at San Francisco International Airport. The largest airliner in the skies landed at about 9:30 a.m. this morning after completing a flight from Cincinnati and Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. We weren't on hand to document the arrival--though I would have paid good money to do so--but you can catch video of the arrival from NBC 11.

The A380's visit to San Francisco is significant as SFO was the first U.S. airport to be ready to accommodate the plane's immense size. SFO's seven-year-old international terminal was designed specifically for planes like the A380 in mind. Those improvements included extra-large gate and check-in areas, expanded baggage carousels, and gates with multiple Jetways on two levels to board the A380's two decks simultaneously. Remember that the Airbus holds about 525 people (or more), which makes it quite a bit larger than the already big 747.

The A380 made its first stateside visit earlier this year when it flew to New York's JFK airport and Los Angeles Airport. While those trips were designed mostly to show the plane off to the public and the media, Airbus is describing the plane's SFO stop as a "working visit." It will spend tonight at SFO before flying back to Toulouse, France, tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. San Francisco is not likely to see the plane again until 2008 when the first commercial flights to the airport should begin. Though Singapore Airlines will be the first airline to fly passengers on the A380 later this month, San Francisco is not yet on the schedule for flights.

But according to Airliners.net the A380 will overfly San Francisco on its way out of town. Since the Blue Angles are already buzzing the Bay Area you can bet that my head will be craned skyward.