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A380 touches down in Oz

Passengers impressed with aeronautical behemoth

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The Airbus A380 today entered commercial service with an inaugural seven hour flight from Singapore to Sydney, in the process wowing passengers who'd snapped up seats in Singapore Airlines' charity eBay ticket auction.

Tony Elwood, who enjoyed a private first-class suite with his other half Julie, enthused to the BBC: "I have never been in anything like this in the air before in my life. It is going to make everything else after this simply awful."

Laurence Watts said during the flight: "I'm actually sitting in the economy class on the lower deck of the plane. The most amazing thing is here you have two classes of economy, split over two decks, with stairs in between the two, which I think is a huge novelty for everyone.

"The plane itself - the space is bigger than anything you can imagine. I can look out the window to my right at the moment and I can see a wing that looks bigger than most ordinary planes."

The A380 behemoth's history has been a troubled one, with repeated delivery knock-backs testing customers' patience. Whether it becomes a commercial success remains to be seen. Airbus currently boasts 165 firm orders for the A380, plus 20 "commitments".

Boeing, meanwhile, has over 700 orders for its 787 Dreamliner, although that programme has also suffered delays. The first test flight is now slated for Q1 2008. ®

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