The Airbus A380 has finally received technical certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Toulouse ceremony was somewhat spoilt, however, with news that the manufacturer’s Paris office has been raided by French police in their investigation of alleged insider trading in the months leading up to the delay announcements.
Airbus has confirmed that 15 customer aircraft are now partially complete but indications are that the last of these will not be delivered until 2009 due to production problems mainly concerning the wiring systems. The first A380, destined for Singapore Airlines, is not likely to go into revenue service until next October. The present firm order book for the A380 now stands at 149 after cancellations, considerably short of the 400 plus now said to be the break-even figure due to the two-year delivery delay and production debacle.
“This double seal of approval represents a key milestone for the A380 programme. It recognises the quality of the work performed by all those who have worked hard for many years on the development of this superb, new technology leading aircraft. My thanks go to all of them, including to the EASA and FAA teams, for this outstanding achievement,” says Airbus president and CEO Louis Gallois. “But more than anything, it provides clear evidence of the technical soundness of the A380, and confirms that the aircraft is meeting or exceeding the expectations in terms of performance, range, environmental friendliness, and cabin comfort. Both our customers and their passengers will love it.“
Airbus says that the flight test campaign has revealed that the aircraft is meeting the guaranteed performance both in terms of fuel burn and range. Because of its very low fuel burn, contributing to the lowest operating costs, it will produce very low emissions.