More than HK$150 million will be spent on passenger air bridges and other facilities to accommodate up to five Airbus A380s at Chek Lap Kok, even though only one of the aircraft a day currently uses the airport. As more airlines add the A380, which can carry over 500 passengers, to their fleets, Hong Kong airport is increasing its readiness with three new triple air bridges and two double air bridges modified to handle the A380. Hong Kong joins Singapore, Beijing and other major cities in the region that have airports equipped with triple air bridges for the A380. The aircraft has two levels, each requiring at least one air bridge. This means triple air bridges are needed for the A380 to help the large number of passengers board and disembark faster, and also to cater to passengers in first and business class and those in economy. On average, it takes about 11 or 12 minutes for passengers to disembark with three air bridges and 15 minutes with just two. Compared to a Boeing 747-400, the A380 has an almost 80-metre wing span - about 15 metres wider than the Boeing aircraft - is 1.7 metres longer and has a tail that rises just over five metres higher than that of the 747-400. Depending on the configuration, a fully loaded A380 can carry 555 passengers, compared with about 400 for the 747-400. Since July last year, Singapore Airlines has been the only airline operating an A380 to Hong Kong, with daily flights. From October 1, Emirates Airlines will fly an A380 daily to Hong Kong. An A380 landed at the airport on a test flight in November 2006. One of the new triple air bridges, at a cost of about HK$27.5 million, started operating at gate E15 four weeks ago. Triple air bridges will also be installed at Gates 64 and 66 by the middle of next year. Another HK$80 million has already been spent on modifying two double air bridges at Gates 60 and 62 to facilitate passenger flow at both the upper and lower decks of the aircraft, as well as other related infrastructure improvement work. Henry Ma Yiu-man, the Airport Authority's airfield general manager, said more triple air bridges would probably be installed as the airport expanded its facilities to meet market demand. 'But we're still in the planning stages,' Ma, who has not flown on the A380, said. Officials at Chek Lap Kok, which Airports Council International said handled the world's third largest international passenger volume last year, are studying a plan to construct a passenger concourse and aircraft stands in the midfield, the only large-scale undeveloped area on the airport site. This would allow Chek Lap Kok to handle the 70 million passengers and 6 million tonnes of cargo expected to flow through the airport annually by 2020.