Johannesburg - In a festive ceremony here at OR Tambo
International Airport, a Lufthansa Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger
plane, was named Johannesburg by councillor Parks Tau, the executive mayor of
the city of Johannesburg.
Tau, assisted by Captain Jürgen Raps and Kay Kratky - member
of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board responsible for the airline's Frankfurt
and flight operations division - unveiled the name at the airport on Tuesday.
Following the naming ceremony, the aircraft will depart for
a scenic flight to the Western Cape, where it will perform a low overflight of
Cape Town and Table Mountain.
This is only the fifth German plane to be named after a city
that is not in Germany, and Johannesburg is the first city in Africa to receive
this honour. The aircraft will also be carrying the coat of arms of the city on
"Our A380 bears the name of Johannesburg as a symbol of
friendship between Germany and South Africa. It will travel the world as an
ambassador for intercultural understanding, bridging continents and connecting
people," said Kratky.
"We would also like to use this opportunity to express
our gratitude towards our customers and partners in South Africa. Without their
loyalty and support we would not be here today," he said.
Johannesburg became Lufthansa's third A380 destination in
September 2010, right after Tokyo and Beijing.
"Customers travelling to and from South Africa have
been experiencing our new A380 on the Johannesburg-Frankfurt service for over
nine months and the feedback we receive is very positive", said Axel
Simon, Lufthansa's director for southern Africa.
"I am delighted that we can serve a South African
destination with our flagship, building on the foundation we laid almost 50
years ago with our first flight to Johannesburg in 1962," he said.