The bigger the project, the bigger the challenge, and there’s never been anything bigger in commercial airline history than the A380 Airbus by Singapore Airlines. To mark the A380 Airbus’ first international commercial flight the Showcorp Group had all the big ideas.
The A380 Airbus carried a crew of 30, including four pilots and 455 passengers on the “kangaroo route” from Singapore to Sydney Australia, some that bid tens of thousands of dollars in a charity auction for a seat in aviation history. The charity auction helped raise approximately £610,000 (866,000 Euro) for Doctors without Borders, two Australian Children’s Hospitals, and Community Chest of Singapore.
The A380 Airbus arrived in Sydney Australia on Thursday, October 25, to tumultuous passenger applause after a 7.5-hour flight. The big challenge Showcorp faced was to make the first flight's arrival celebrations live up to the hype and anticipation Singapore Airlines created around the jetliner.
The aim was to make the event as special for the airlines’ 500 guests as the experience was for the 455 passengers onboard the A380 Airbus’ first international commercial flight. Showcorp drew on their resources to fashion a unique experience for clients, dignitaries, and invited VIP guests alike. Focused on the art of applied imagination, Showcorp’s event production team worked closely with Singapore Airlines to optimize the impact and success of every aspect.
“Appreciating the significance of the A380’s first flight in the context of Singapore Airlines' long history of firsts was pivotal in establishing this event as yet another historic aviation milestone achieved by the airline,” explains Colin Baldwin, Showcorp’s managing director. “Singapore Airlines has a record of firsts, and the A380 Airbus’ first flight was the latest in a long history of aviation and customer service achievements. The Airbus A380’s arrival in Australia was an occasion to celebrate a proud aviation heritage in addition to marking the end of the almost 37 year reign of Boeing’s 747 Jumbo Jet as the world's most spacious passenger aircraft.
To set the scene, arriving guests were welcomed by iconic “Singapore Girls” who ushered them through a specially constructed "Firsts Air Bridge." To emphasize the event’s context, 7' tall illuminated panels within the air bridge collectively illustrated the chronology of Singapore Airlines over their 60 year aviation history. Leaving the air bridge, the guests entered a 9,450-sq-ft clear span softly lit in Singapore Airlines’ corporate colors: blue, and yellow.
Furnished with cocktail tables, ottomans, and illuminated planter boxes, the presentation area featured fully operative examples of all three Singapore Airlines’ A380 travel classes. This was the guests’ first opportunity to sample some of the luxury features inherent in the jetliner and view examples of the in-flight cuisine Singapore Airlines passengers can look forward to when flying on the A380.
Dominating the area was a 40' x 10' Showcorp Multivision projection screen displaying a recognition loop, produced in-house by Showcorp Video Services (SVS), acknowledging those organizations that worked with Singapore Airlines to create the first flight.
While guests were treated to canapés and drinks their attention was held by the Airbus’ amazing seating and gourmet showcases, Showcorp was busy coordinating the clandestine relocation of the world’s largest passenger aircraft from its arrival gate at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith’s international terminal to the event venue at the opposite end of the airport. There in darkness and silence, the $320.5 million (USD), seven-story high, double-decker giant was carefully edged into position, just feet from the unsuspecting audience.
Stealth was the modus operandi as unbeknown to the adjacent guests Showcorp’s airside team of "Great Outdoor Lighting Company" technicians and production engineers replicated what they had rehearsed with a 747 Jumbo just once, a week before. Setting up the exterior flood-lighting along the A380’s 246' long towering fuselage, laying red carpet, and establishing A380 entry and exit walkways was promptly completed, while airport ground staff maneuvered the A380 access stairs into position.
Inside the marquee, John Meillon, Showcorp's show director awaited confirmation that all was prepared for the main event to proceed. Following the official formalities that included presentations from Chew Choon Seng, chief executive of Singapore Airlines, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister the Honorable Mark Vaile MP, and Sydney Airport chairman Max Moore-Wilton, the event’s master of ceremonies took the stage and directed the audience’s attention to the vast screen as the house lights dimmed to black.
On cue, the Multivision screen came alive with vivid images of Singapore Airlines’ milestones. Presenting a dynamic amalgam of historical images and vintage film skillfully choreographed with animated CGI graphics, narrated, and set to an inspiring soundtrack, Showcorp’s Multivision transported the audience through six decades of aviation milestones, culminating with the latest, Singapore Airlines’ introduction of the A380 Airbus.
A huge, true-to-life 3D animation of the Super-Jumbo flew into view to an actual recording of Sydney air traffic control announcing landing clearance to the flight. A view down its simulated Sydney runway accompanied by thunderous audio effects gave the audience the illusion of being on the tarmac as the A380’s final approach occurred directly overhead. Following landing and as Sydney air traffic control provided instruction, the on-screen Jetliner taxied toward the applauding audience, then turned and came to a halt replicating the relative position of the actual Airbus outside.
The presentation and event theme "Travel In A New Light" was then superimposed as the accompanying soundtrack reached a crescendo. An animated flash of light then broke through the imagery and was echoed by bright white blinders around the screen. Momentarily the dazzling white light obscured the audience’s vision, as simultaneously the soundtrack reached its finale and the screen and flanking curtain drapes instantly vanished to reveal the imposing illuminated aircraft through clear marquee skin.
The audience roared as the new A380 was so dramatically revealed. “The audience was obviously not expecting the screen to disappear, or to see the giant aircraft sitting in the very same position as the projected A380 had been just moments before," comments Colin Baldwin, event producer. “Our MC then invited the audience to board the aircraft, and the rest is now special event history.”