Airbus Superjumbo Attracting Interest From Private Buyers

The bigger the better. The world's largest passenger jet, the Airbus A380, has attracted interest from private individuals seeking a new luxurious travel experience, Airbus officials said Friday.

The A380, which will eclipse the Boeing 747 as the world's largest commercial plane when it enters into service next year, has secured 159 firm orders so far from 16 airlines and freight companies, with dozens more on option.

Airbus chief operating officer for customers, John Leahy, said there have been inquiries from individual operators who want to use the double-decker superjumbo for private flights.

"We are in discussions but we cannot divulge details at this stage," he told the Associated Press following the A380's arrival at Singapore's Changi Airport earlier Friday on its first test run outside of Europe.

"Just like some of the 747s which have been sold for private flights, we could see a handful of the A380s being sold for private flights, but it's not a very big market," Leahy said.

The superjumbo, which stretches three-quarter the length of a soccer field, offers nearly half again as much floor space as the 747, with potential room for new amenities like casinos, bars, shops or libraries.

The plane has a list price of $292 million.

Following its Asian tour, which also includes Australia and Malaysia, the A380 will return to its headquarters in Toulouse before flying to Dubai to participate in the Dubai airshow later in the month, officials said.

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