Russian-Based A380 to Haul 652 Passengers

Airbus A380

Got plans for the upcoming holidays? How about getting together 652 of your closest friends and chartering a Transaero Airlines A380? The Russian carrier doesn’t actually take delivery of its first superjumbo until 2015, but it’s never too early to plan, or start making friends.

It sounds like something outlined on a cocktail napkin after a third vodka. A continuous swill of wonder and madness. Seating for 652? A monumental act of audacity. The passenger list alone would fill hard drives. Enough peanuts to swamp a C-130 cargo jet. And it may or may not be the highest seating capacity of any commercial passenger jet in the world.

(French-based Air Austral ordered an 840-seat A380 back in 2009 for delivery in 2014, but that order “appears to be in limbo” for financial reasons.)

Transaero Airlines CEO Olga Pleshakova recently told USA Today that the four A380s he’s ordered will be configured “with 652 seats in three classes of service.”

“Imperial Class is 12 seats, which are designed as suites,” Pleshakova said. “There are 24 seats in business class – these are full-flat seats and all-around access. And 616 is for the economy, for the total of 652.”

I had no idea. You can have 652 passengers corralled together, or you can have three classes of service on a bigger mousetrap, but you can’t have both.

Transaero flies to more than 100 destinations, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Toronto. (And let’s hope the dark side of the moon.)

Most airlines operating, or planning to operate, A380s configure the jets to seat between 470 and 520. Korean Air coming into Atlanta offers 407 seats total, including 94 business class in the upper deck.

For now, Transaero plans to fly its jam-packed haymaker A380s from Moscow to Bangkok, as well as to the Dominican Republic and Barcelona. (The giant sponge of globalization is getting huge.)

“We’re talking to the airport in the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean to start using it domestically to Moscow,” Pleshakova told USA Today.

That route covers about 4,000 miles, the newspaper noted. “For comparison’s sake, a flight between Miami and Seattle or between Boston and San Francisco comes in at about 2,700 miles.”

Transaero also has ordered four jumbo Boeing 747-8s. Delivery is expected to be in 2015.

The Tarmac’s View: And so it goes. Transaero Airlines just signed a codeshare deal with JetBlue that begins at the end of this month, hoping to bolster the Russian carrier’s Moscow-New York route. Imagine the line at JFK’s Immigration and Customs if they start bringing in 652 passengers off the tarmac in one haul. It would knock you into next week. Imagine actually looking back to 2013 and thinking these were the “good old days” at JFK.


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Comments (Showing 10 of 10)

  • AntsBELOW at 5:45pm October 22, 2013

    Mam….MAM, I rang the service bell 3 hours ago to see if I could get a glass of water….oh never mind…..

  • sdsearch at 6:35pm October 22, 2013

    And wihat about the gates at the airport for 652 passengers? Will they need skyscraper gates with 5 levels? Will they need to stich together several adjacent gates all for one flight??? How many airports in the world are set up for 652 passengers all on one flight?

  • gojko88 at 6:36pm October 22, 2013

    “I had no idea. You can have 652 passengers corralled together, or you can have three classes of service on a bigger mousetrap, but you can’t have both.”

    I fail to see why all the hype and what is so preposterous about this idea. With a plane that size and only 36 seats in premium classes, the total of 650 doesn’t sound any more uncomfortable than on any other airline.

  • Spoddy at 10:28pm October 22, 2013

    I would imagine the same questions about capacity at the gate and the lines at immigration were the same when the 747 started.

    I (do not) fondly remember the lines coming off a 747 in the 70’s and 80’s…

  • Asiaflyguy at 11:47pm October 22, 2013

    I have been in JFK at immigration when 3 747’s deplane at once, not an uncommon occurance, so, would not be a shock to see 652 people queueing for imigration from the whale of a plane.

    Would not want to be on this flight with so many pax though

  • relangford at 1:06am October 23, 2013

    C-130 is prop, not jet.

  • cascade at 1:19pm October 23, 2013

    A C-130 is not a jet.

  • awayIgo at 3:34pm October 23, 2013

    JFK immigration frequently is handling the arrival of 4-6 747s at the same time. If one of those aircraft was this plane it would add more passengers BUT not be horrendous. Staffing at immigration depends upon the number of aircraft and type coming in.

  • Daner at 4:39pm October 23, 2013

    “Transaero Airlines CEO Olga Pleshakova recently told USA Today that the four A380s he’s ordered…”

    Firstly: Olga is a feminine first name (as in Korbut or Kurylenko)

    Secondly: Slavic last names ending in “ova” indicate that the bearer is feminine (as in Paulina Porizkova)

    Thirdly: The person in question shows up very quickly in image and article searches, and is clearly a woman.

    When in doubt, look it up.

  • UncleDude at 5:45pm April 03, 2014

    Immigration and Customs is becoming more and more automated, I now fly between the UK and US and only have Interaction with one Customs and Immigration human throughout the whole roundtrip, and that’s the US Customs Officer who checks your pics match after all your clearances on your way into the arrivals hall

    In the UK and some other EU countries even this is automated whereby an Immigration Booth compares my actual face with the face dimensions on by BioMetric Passport.

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