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UPDATE: Singapore Air Auctions A380 Seats; Australian Bids $100 380

UPDATE: Singapore Air Auctions A380 Seats; Australian Bids $100 380
SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) -- Singapore Airlines on Tuesday set off a new round of online bidding for seats on the first commercial flight of the superjumbo Airbus A380 after selling two first-class tickets for $100,380.

Australian businessman Julian Hayward on Tuesday paid $100,380 for two first- class, one-way tickets after bidding them up from $380 each, said Josh Gold, chief executive of Auctionwire, the Toronto-based company managing the online charity auction for Singapore Airlines.

And for that lofty price tag, the winning bidder has to find another way home: The tickets are good for just one leg of the round-trip flight, said the airline operator.

Singapore Airlines (SPAAF) , which is scheduled to take delivery of the 471- seat passenger jet on Oct. 15, is auctioning off most seats on the A380's inaugural flight between Singapore and Sydney via Ebay Inc.'s (EBAY) Web site. It plans to direct all proceeds to charity. About $400,000 has been raised so far, said Singapore Airlines.

The flight departs Sydney on Oct. 25 and returns to Singapore Oct. 26.

Aviation enthusiasts can now bid on tickets for the return flight to Singapore from Sydney. More breathtaking bids are likely to surface. One man is bidding on six first-class, round-trip tickets and one economy-class seat, says Gold. The unnamed bidder placed a security deposit of about $100,000, which allows him to bid up to about $1 million for the group of tickets.

The first round of auctions, mostly for the first leg that departs Singapore, launched Aug. 27 and wrapped up Monday. The final auctions for the return flight end Sept. 10.

The first passenger flight of the Airbus 380 will culminate a long and rocky road for French aircraft maker Airbus and its mold-breaking jet. After a huge amount of initial fanfare and orders for the A380, which Airbus says will slash carriers' fuel costs by carrying an average 555 passengers on long-haul trips, it ran into production delays that piled up losses at Airbus-parent EADS.

Rival Boeing (BA) , meanwhile, is still laboring to get its next-generation jet -- the mid-sized, 787 Dreamliner, into airspace. It will update media on the jet Wednesday.

The A380 flight auction is the latest example of corporations using inaugural events to capitalize on early buzz about a new product or service. In August, Virgin America auctioned a ticket on its first flight, a New York City to San Francisco jaunt, for $5,400.

Bidding for the tickets for A380 attracted 2,000 registered bidders and 8,500 visitors to its Ebay auctions, says Auctionwire. Australians represent the largest number of bidders registered to participate in the first-class auction, followed by Singapore and U.S. citizens. Australian, British and Singapore citizens have been the most active bidders for economy class.

Economy class bidding starts at $3.80, business class bids at $38 and bids for the Singapore Airlines' version of first-class, which it calls "suites," starts at $380.

Air travelers with a bent for superlatives have shown deep pockets.

One economy ticket for both legs auctioned for $7,500, while a one-way business seat sold for $8,300.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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