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3rd Annual Sustainable Business Travel Summit
The Airbus A380 programme has taken a significant step forward, with the so-called ”commercial route provings”, due to start Monday 19 March with flights from Frankfurt to New York, Hong Kong and Washington DC. On 28 March, the A380 will return to its home base in Toulouse (France). On each of these test flights the airliner will carry ” similar to regular scheduled services in the future ” approximately 500 passengers.
During ground times, the A380 will go through a rigorous programme of comprehensive handling tests. These will include measurement turn-around time of the new aircraft from landing to take-off, and comparing with that of the much smaller long haul jets already in operation.
Fraport”s executive board chairman Dr Wilhelm Bender said: ”Right from the beginning, we have contributed our long-standing experience in airport operations and the know-how and expertise of our ground-handling services to the A380”s development. We were well prepared for the A380, when it made its first call at a commercial airport in October 2005. Now, the FRA aviation hub has been selected again for the first passenger-carrying test flights. This underscores that in international comparison we have the competitive edge.” Not quite true. All flights for the time being are non-revenue and it must be recorded that the first true passenger flights took place at Toulouse on 7 February.
The flight programme will be conducted in conjunction with Lufthansa: ”We are delighted at being alongside Airbus and supporting with our know-how and experience both the development and practice-proving exercise of this new aircraft type. The Airbus A380 as the new Lufthansa flagship will set new standards in economy and ecological efficiency,” said Deutsche Lufthansa AG chairman of the executive board and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber. Conspiracy theorists can read in what they like but due to the A380 delays LH has also become the first airline to order the Boeing 747-8.
On board the Airbus A380 will be mostly Lufthansa and Airbus employees, whose job is to test the in-flight systems and equipment ” from the air conditioning, the lighting, and acoustics, through to the galleys and new-generation in-flight entertainment systems. The flight deck will be manned by both Airbus test pilots and experienced Lufthansa pilots, while cabin service will be in the hands of Lufthansa flight attendants. Plus of course the passengers whose comments will be carefully monitored and noted.