The city of San Francisco declared Tuesday “Lufthansa German Airlines Day” in honor of the first regularly scheduled commercial Airbus 380 flight to enter the city.
Lufthansa has flown into San Francisco International Airport for about 50 years and recently began upgrading its fleet with Airbus 380s, the largest commercial plane in the world, company spokesman Martin Riecken said.
The two-story plane has 526 seats, roughly 200 more than a classic jumbo jet, which has about 330, Riecken said.
The airliner will continue to schedule the same number of incoming flights to SFO, meaning hundreds more people will be entering the city each year.
The fleet upgrade will lead to 1,300 direct and indirect jobs in San Francisco, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said, and generate $100 million in revenue annually.
The city expects to receive an additional $9 million in taxes, he said.
“This proclamation shows the importance of our relationship with Germany,” Chiu said.
The European country has strong ties to the Bay Area both in business and leisure, Riecken said.
San Francisco is one of the top American destinations for Lufthansa’s passengers, he said, particularly those traveling on vacation in the summer.
Nearly one-third of San Francisco’s visitors every year are from outside the U.S., San Francisco Travel Association CEO Joe D’Alessandro said.
The region is also home to many German companies, including renewable energy enterprises and automaker Volkswagen’s U.S. research lab.
“The demand was definitely there,” for additional seats, Riecken said.
Lufthansa already has several Airbus 380s in rotation and will have eight active in its fleet by the end of the year, he said. The company will have 15 of the double-decker planes by 2015.
“They’re much quieter,” which is especially important on 10.5-hour trans-oceanic flights, Riecken said.
He said the fuel economy is also better on the Airbus 380 than on leading commercial planes and that Lufthansa benefits from economies of scale by taking more passengers on each flight.
Janna Brancolini, Bay City News