Singapore Airlines' first A380, which was formally delivered to them on 15 October, left Toulouse at 10:30 p.m. local time on 16 October for the 12 hour and 24 minute flight to the airline's home base at Singapore Changi International Airport. The aircraft is set to make its first commercial passenger flight from Singapore to Sydney on 25 October.
Ahead of its departure, Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Officer Chew Choon Seng told the media during a question and answer session in Toulouse that the airline's attention and efforts would now be focused on making sure that its first aircraft is successfully launched.
"We are glad that Airbus took the time to make sure the aircraft is fully tested and developed before it enters commercial service," he said. "In fact the extra time taken has allowed them to deliver to us what we consider to be a quite mature aircraft. This aircraft has done more test flights and more trials at airports than other aircraft that I have experienced in the last 30 years."
The A380's design, Mr Chew said, embodies all the latest technological and aerodynamic advances of the last 30 years making it an aircraft for today and tomorrow. And Airbus president and chief executive officer Thomas Enders echoed these sentiments, stating that he was convinced that the A380 would now be the dominating aircraft in the large aircraft market.
Singapore Airlines is due to receive six more A380s next year. Its second and third A380s, due in early 2008, will be used to fly between London and Singapore. It then plans to operate the next three aircraft on routes to Tokyo, Hong Kong and San Francisco.
Speaking alongside Mr Chew, Thomas Enders reiterated that Airbus is throwing its full support behind the A380 programme as it prepares to ramp-up production and deliver a total of 13 aircraft in 2008. "This programme has the utmost priority in terms of resources at Airbus," he said, adding that as the processes and resources are all in place, "We have every confidence that we can deliver."