HOUSTON—With its wide body and double decks, the Airbus A380 is the world’s largest passenger jetliner, and it arrived in Texas for the first time ever Wednesday.
The A380 landed at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport for a welcoming ceremony just before 2 p.m.
The jet is flown by Lufthansa and will be used for daily service from Houston to Frankfurt, Germany.
"I have been in aviation for more than 30 years and this is the biggest day of my career," said Mario Diaz, the director of the Houston Airport System.
It is big.
The double-decker jet holds 529 passengers—economy on the bottom deck, 98 seats in business class and another eight in first class on top.
Lufthansa says to look no further than the first flight to see the impact.
"Passengers come from 90 different countries of origin. This is a perfect illustration of this plane connecting the world to Houston," said Jurgen Siebenrock, the VP of Lufthansa for the Americas.
The Houston Airport System invested more than $7 million into just one gate to accommodate the monster plane—an investment that is well worth I, according to Mayor Annise Parker.
"We are happy to be the gateway to the heartland of America for this plane," Parker said.
Until now, the plane only flew into airports on the east and west coasts of the U.S.
Consultants told the Houston Airport System when it first opened discussions with Lufthansa that it would take two years at least to prepare for the jet.
That was eight months ago.
Houston does more than $7.6 billion a year in business with Germany. Last year, 690 Houston companies did business there.