Airbus A380 To Make First Asia Visit
October 13, 2005
Asia will get its first glimpse next month of the Airbus A380 double-decker plane -- the world's largest airliner -- when it visits Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.
The first trip outside Europe for the plane, which can seat more than 800 passengers, is designed to test new airport facilities being prepared especially for it.
In addition to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, stops in Australia will include Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Airbus said in a news release.
Airports planning to receive the new planes are having to widen taxiways and ensure that gate lounges and baggage-handling facilities can accommodate the larger number of passengers per flight.
Singapore Airlines now expects to take the first delivery of an A380 in November 2006, about eight months behind schedule.
Disgruntled airlines in several countries are expected to seek compensation from Airbus because of delivery delays.
Airlines' demands for customized cabins have required more work than expected and have forced Airbus to hire additional engineers. The company also has had to redesign part of the A380's wiring to ensure it can make all such modifications.
"There is no technical showstopper, just bottlenecks in engineering and electrical harnesses," Charles Champion, head of Airbus's A380 program, said last month regarding the delays.
Airbus Chief Executive Gustav Humbert told French reporters last month that compensating airlines for the delays would cost the company less than EUR100 million (USD$120.2 million), though he later said the final figure needed to be negotiated.
The A380's tour will start with a stop in Frankfurt this month and end with a visit to the Dubai air show in the latter half of November, Airbus said.