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British Airways to Fly First A380s to Los Angeles, Hong Kong

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- British Airways said it will operate its first Airbus SAS A380 superjumbo to Los Angeles, with the second plane serving Hong Kong.

Tickets went on sale today for flights to California from Oct. 15 and the Asian city starting Nov. 15, the International Consolidated Airlines Group SA unit said in a statement.

British Airways is due to receive the first of 12 A380s in July, with deliveries progressing through 2016. The inaugural trips may come earlier than the dates given today, depending on when preliminaries are completed, the London-based carrier said.

“A380 enthusiasts eager to be on the very first commercial services should note that dates for these will be announced once plans for training flights are completed,” the carrier said.

British Airways has opted for a lower A380 seating density than some competitors as it seeks to maximize premium bookings, offering 469 seats in a four-class layout. Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s operates A380s with 526 berths, while Air France’s planes can accommodate 516 passengers.

BA will become the 10th A380 operator and the only new customer this year as Airbus targets 25 deliveries globally.

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, BA’s parent company, said today that passenger traffic -- or the number of people carried times the distance flown -- fell 2.4 percent last month as workers at Spanish unit Iberia staged a five-day strike aimed at averting more than 3,000 job cuts.

Traffic at Madrid-based Iberia slumped 21 percent, compared with a year earlier, contrasting with a 5.3 percent advance at British Airways. Economy-class travel declined 2.9 percent overall, while premium bookings gained 0.2 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Wall in London at rwall6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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