On 21 August, the A380 arrived back in Toulouse, France at the end of its longest single test campaign so far. Test aircraft MSN007, which has a fully equipped cabin, spent almost a week each with teams at Singapore and Emirates airlines, which are the first and the largest A380 customers, respectively.
The campaign marked a real turning point for the A380 programme. Singapore Airlines will start A380 operations in October, so the focus was mainly on maintenance, operations, ground handling and a few particular systems. Singapore's teams, who are well prepared to start operating their own A380s, performed the work and Airbus personnel monitored and answered questions.
Similar checks were carried out in Dubai, although Emirates will only receive its first aircraft in August next year. Airbus also carried out four demonstration flights with Emirates' employees, which was a great way for everyone to familiarise themselves with the aircraft, including the ground handling crews that performed the turnarounds.
Feedback from both airlines has been very good, and is now being given to the various teams within Airbus.
The excitement could be felt with both Singapore and Emirates. The campaign allowed both carriers to become totally familiar with the A380. A key benefit of this trip is that the airlines' employees now see the A380 not as a project, but as a very real aircraft, and they feel prepared to put their own A380s into service.
For more stories and photos from the Singapore and Emirates test campaign, see the A380 Navigator