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Airbus A380 Lands in Hong Kong

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The worlds largest commercial airliner, the mammoth Airbus A380, arrived in Hong Kong Saturday for the first time as part of its current technical route proving exercise that sees function and reliability tests carried out at key airports around the world.

Airbus A380 parked at Hong Kong International Airport in November 2006 - click to enlarge

The exercise is the last of the trials required for Type Certification, which is expected in mid December. For the trial, the aircraft has to make over 150 flight hours on a continuous typical airline schedule, performing in its normal operational environment. The aircraft will be operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from both EASA and FAA.

Airbus A380 touching down in Hong Kong for the first-ever time - click to enlarge

The aircraft used for the trial is A380 MSN002 and is powered by four Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines. From its start in Toulouse, France, on November 13th, the current technical route proving exercise will see ten different airports visited in four trips by the time the testing is complete: Singapore and Seoul, and Hong Kong and Narita being trips one and two respectively. The third trip will take the aircraft to Guangzhou (22nd November), and Beijing and Shanghai (23rd November).

The fourth and final trip will take the A380 around the globe, via both poles. It will depart Toulouse to reach Johannesburg on 26th November, and then fly over the South Pole en-route to Sydney where it will arrive on 28th November. From Sydney, it will fly across the Pacific to Vancouver (29th November) prior to returning to Toulouse via the North Pole.

During this technical route proving exercise, the A380 will have to demonstrate that it can be turned around as per normal airline operations. Tests will cover, amongst other things, checks on standard aircraft maintenance and behaviour, as well as typical airport operations and compatibility. These will include monitoring functions such as bridge docking, cleaning and catering, refuelling and boarding procedures.

Five development A380s have now flown. Four aircraft, one of which is powered by the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine, are now actively involved in the intensive flight test programme, which has already reached over 730 flights and 2,300 flight hours. The fifth aircraft is undergoing cabin installation in Hamburg. Firm orders and commitments for the A380 currently stand at 166 aircraft for 15 customers.

See also: Singapore Airlines launches Airbus A380 flights to Hong Kong and Pictures of the A380, Singapore Airlines First Class Suites, Bars and Showers on Emirates' A380.

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