British Airways unveils first A380 interiors

British Airways said it will operate its first Airbus A380 superjumbo to Los Angeles, with the second plane serving Hong Kong.

Tickets went on sale on Tuesday for flights to California from October 15 and the Asian city starting November 15, the International Consolidated Airlines Group unit said.

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 maximise premium bookings, offering 469 seats in a four-class layout. Germany's Lufthansa operates A380s with 526 berths, while Air France's planes can accommodate 516 passengers.

Qantas currently operates 12 A380s with a further eight on order. Its superjumbos have been 450 and 484 seats. Korean Air currently has the smallest number of seats on board its A380s, with 407 seats.

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

BA introduced a new first class cabin on its aircraft in 2010, at a time when other airlines, like Qantas, were removing first class from many of their aircraft due to lack of demand. Lufthansa announced last month it would reduce the number of long-haul planes in its fleet offering first class from 90 per cent to 75 per cent. BA currently operates 112 long-haul planes, 90 of them with first class cabins (approximately 80 per cent of the airline's long-haul fleet).

International Consolidated Airlines Group, BA's parent company, said today that passenger traffic -- or the number of people carried times the distance flown - fell 2.4 per cent last month as workers at Spanish unit Iberia staged a five-day strike aimed at averting more than 3000 job cuts.

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

Photos: British Airways A380 interiors