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A380 Aircraft takes to the skies for test flight

Etihad Airways’ first A380 aircraft has taken to the air for its maiden flight as part of the Airbus A380

Etihad Airways’ first A380 aircraft has taken to the air for its maiden flight as part of the Airbus A380 flight test programme.

Equipped with four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, the Airbus A380 (MSN004) flew over the South West of France, manned by experienced test-pilots Peter Chandler, and Richard Monnoyer, as well as the test flight engineer Pascal Verneau, and flight test engineers Didier Ronceray and Robert Lignee.

Etihad Airways, committed to providing its guests with unparalleled quality of product and service across its fleet, signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus in June 2004 to purchase 24 aircraft, for an industry record-breaking $7 billion.

Etihad Airways is the national airline of the UAE, and to ensure that Etihad receives its A380 aircraft at the earliest possible opportunity, it was agreed with Airbus that it will take delivery of four development aircraft (MSN002, MSN004, MSN007 and MSN009) that are currently taking part in the comprehensive A380 flight test campaign.

“The A380 meets the most stringent international certification requirements. It can carry 35 per cent more passengers than its closest rival and, with nearly 50 percent more floor space, the A380 will enable Etihad to deliver unparalleled comfort to our guests in every class,” said Robert Strodel CEO Etihad Airways.

The flight test campaign started on 27 April 2005, when the first A380 (MSN001) took to the skies to test loads identification and development of flight control. Since then it has yielded very good results, successfully completing 105 flights and 366 flight hours.

Following its maiden flight on 18 October, MSN004 will now be flying performance tests – and two additional aircraft will be equipped with full cabin installations and will undergo cabin and noise tests, performing the Early Long Flights and later the Route Proving, together with further airport compatibility checks.

A fifth aircraft will be used for the trials linked to the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine.

“The tests are going better than we expected and we can already say with certitude that we will deliver a great aircraft, which will live up to the expectations of the airlines and bring a step change to air transport. I am certain that the second test aircraft will continue to show that the A380 combines technological innovation with extraordinary quality and reliability,” said Charles Champion, Chief Operating Officer and Head of the A380 Programme.

With air travel expected to continue growing, the A380’s ability to carry more passengers will help ease congestion by transporting people without additional aircraft movements.

Its significantly reduced noise and emissions levels will help to minimize its effects on the environment. Its new generation engines and advanced wing and undercarriage design mean the A380 will not only comply with today’s noise limits but will be significantly quieter than its competitor, proving half as much noise on take-off.

Etihad Airways is scheduled to receive its first A380 aircraft in January 2008.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.