Cape Town - British Airways (BA) is bringing its new baby, the giant Airbus A380, to South Africa.
The A380 is the airline’s largest, most modern aircraft and BA plans to start flying the plane to Johannesburg from February next year.
Initially BA will operate the A380 on the route three times a week, increasing to six weekly services by March 2014. These flights will be part of the airline’s normal schedule to Johannesburg.
The latest announcement brings to three the total number of airlines now flying the world’s biggest commercial passenger plane to Johannesburg.
Air France-KLM was the first carrier to fly the A380 to South Africa in 2010. Since then, German airline Lufthansa has also started operating its Johannesburg-Frankfurt route with an A380.
Emirates Airlines also flew A380 to Johannesburg, but has changed the model and withdrew the A380 from the route.
BA took delivery of its first superjumbo A380 earlier this month, and Johannesburg is only its third A380 route to be confirmed after Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Another two A380 aircraft, from a total order of 12, are due to be delivered before the end of the year.
“We’ve long been clear about the importance of South Africa and our commitment to the market.
"Introducing the A380 is a further, unambiguous demonstration of our confidence,” said Gavin Halliday, BA's general manager for Africa and Europe.
The plane can accommodate 469 passengers across four cabins, which include 14 first class seats.
The airline's A380 investment is part of a R65bn spend over five years in new aircraft. BA currently operates 17 flights a week between London and Johannesburg, using Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 777 aircraft.
It also flies daily 747-400 services to Cape Town during the South African winter months, increasing this to double daily during summer.
BA's acquisition of A380 makes it the tenth global carrier to operate the aircraft. Currently the A380 serves 30 airports across the globe.
Click here for a virtual tour of BA's A380.
*Follow James-Brent Styan on Twitter at @jamesstyan.
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.