BA’s first A380 has arrived at its temporary home – Manston Airport in Kent.

The super-jumbo will be based at the site for the next two weeks as it moves into the next phase of its entry into service programme.

Two teams from BA Engineering will be based at the airfield during the trials, one to carry out all aircraft servicing and another to offer the same service as engineers at a station down route.

Flight crew and cabin crew will also use the opportunity to complete further training.

During the time at Manston the A380 is also scheduled to make a series of visits to sites across the UK and Ireland including Cardiff, Gatwick and Shannon.

Local residents turned out to watch the giant airbus touchdown in East Kent on Monday 15 July.

The aircraft was also greeted by two members of the RAF’s world-famous Red Arrows display team.

Squadron Leader Mike Ling and Wing Commander Neil Fraser were there to finalise preparations and carry out a test flight ahead of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on Saturday 20 July which will include a joint-flypast by the A380 and ten Red Arrows.

Sqn Ldr Ling, Red 10, who flew the Red Arrows Hawk jet during the practice sortie with the British Airways Airbus A380, said: “The practice flight went extremely well and, together with the British Airways team, we were able to work through all of the safety and technical aspects required to make Saturday’s flypast at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) possible.

“Putting a jet behind or alongside an aircraft of the size of the Airbus A380 obviously involves a great deal of precision but the task is essentially the same as the careful flying required for air-to-air refueling with a big tanker aircraft.

“Royal Air Force fast jet pilots train hard to gain the necessary skills to carry out air-to-air refueling and the air force’s new KC-30 Voyager fleet is based on the Airbus A330, so flying with much larger aircraft is something we practice and carry out on operation.

The RAF pilots were impressed by BA’s latest and largest addition to its fleet. “It’s an amazing aircraft and I was lucky enough to have a flight in the BA simulator recently,” said Sqn Ldr Ling. “Wonderful to fly but very different to the Hawk aircraft we use when it comes to landing.”

Not surprisingly Sqn Ldr Ling did not attempt any aerobatic manoeuvres in the A380 simulator.