The A380 embarks on two new global demonstration tours
Two new international tours of the A380 will bring this 21st century Airbus flagship to airports in Russia, South Korea, La Reunion, Mauritius, Dubai and Ethiopia for airport visits with current and potential future customers, compatibility demonstrations and participation in two air shows.
The first trip began last Friday with the A380's inaugural arrival in Russia, which was treated as a major event when the aircraft landed at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. Russian all-news television channel Vesti provided live coverage of the aircraft's approach, flyby and touchdown just before noon, with the announcer underscoring the A380's extremely quiet operation.
More than 500 invited visitors were welcomed aboard within hours after its arrival, including representatives of the Ministry of Transport, Russia's civil aviation agency, airport authorities and some 100 journalists. The A380 for this demonstration tour is one of Airbus' flight test aircraft, which is used for tasks that include product development, the integration of new innovative equipment and pilot training.
On Saturday, the A380 was opened for additional visits prior to departing for South Korea, where it will participate in the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition. The aircraft is to take part in the daily flying presentations through 25 October at Seoul Seongnam Airport, and also is to be on static display.
Korean Air is one of the 16 customers having placed a total of 200 firm orders to date for the A380. The carrier is acquiring 10 A380s as its new flagship on prime international routes, with the initial delivery to Korean Air scheduled for the end of 2010.
For its visit to Seoul, a special decal was added to the A380's fuselage with a Korean Air logo and the phrase: "See You Soon!"
The second A380 tour will be in November, with the aircraft making a first stop in La Reunion on 11 November, followed by a next-day visit to Mauritius before continuing for a participation in the Dubai Air Show from 15 to 19 November. Dubai is home to Emirates, which is one of the three international carriers operating A380s in revenue service today. Emirates has a total of 58 A380s currently on order, with five delivered by Airbus through the end of September.
After completing its appearance at the Dubai Air Show, the A380 tour will continue with a stopover in Ethiopia on 20-21 November, where high altitude landing operations will be performed, followed by the return to Airbus headquarters in France.