Airbus A380 Superjumbo Arrives in Hong Kong

The Airbus A380 landed in Hong Kong Saturday, as part of a final series of test flights intended to lead to the superjumbo's air-worthiness certification by the end of the year.

The plane, which arrived from Toulouse, France, will leave for Narita, Japan early Sunday, said A380 product marketing director Richard Carcaillet.

"It landed very well. The flight was a very smooth one. It's basically ready for commercial service," he said.

From Japan the superjumbo will to return to France, before taking off again for mainland Chinese airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong next week, Carcaillet said. It will then fly to South Africa, Australia and Canada in the coming weeks.

The four last trips in the test flight schedule, ending Nov. 30, are designed to put the 555-seater A380 through 150 hours of flights under the kind of operating conditions it will experience with airlines.

The superjumbo is on track for certification by mid-December, Airbus spokeswoman Maggie Bergsma has said.

Airbus has received orders for 166 superjumbo jets. Singapore Airlines will be the first carrier to fly the superjumbo after it receives its first plane in October next year - a year later than originally planned. Subsequent deliveries have suffered longer delays, averaging two years.

Airbus and its parent company European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. have blamed wiring problems for the holdups, which are set to wipe euro4.8 billion (US$6.2 billion) off profit over the next four years and are complicating plans for an unlaunched mid-size jet to compete with Boeing Co.'s 787.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.