The world's newest and largest airliner, the Airbus A380, is to visit Frankfurt in Germany for airport compatibility verification tests at the end of this month, and will fly to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the first half of November. It will then be on display at the Dubai airshow in the second half of November.

The visits, which mark the first time that the Airbus A380 will be seen outside Europe, will give customers a chance to see the aircraft at first hand, and airports an early opportunity to check their preparedness to handle it in commercial service.

The tests at Frankfurt will include taxiing around the airport, docking at a terminal, and checking passenger boarding bridge positioning. They will also demonstrate ease of access for servicing vehicles, such as catering trucks, cargo-loaders, fuel bowsers and water servicing ? both individually, and together as they would be positioned during an aircraft turnaround.

The A380 on this tour is MSN001, the first aircraft to fly and one of five taking part in the flight-test campaign. Its cabin is fitted with extensive flight-test instrumentation, measuring equipment and ballast tanks that can be filled with water to simulate the weight of a full load of passengers and cargo.

With more than 100 flights and some 350 flight-hours performed to date in an extensive flight-test programme that already shows a sound and mature design , the A380 is on track to to deliver on its promises.

These include 15-20 per cent lower operating cost per seat, wider seats for all passengers in economy class, and less environmental impact through the generation of lower emissions and only half the noise of the largest aircraft in commercial service today.

Airbus' A380 family (A380 and A380F) has already won a strong following among many of the world's most prestigious airlines, with 16 customers having placed orders for 159 aircraft so far. These include Singapore Airlines, which will be the first to take delivery of an A380, at the end of 2006, followed by Qantas Airways and Emirates in the second quarter of 2007.

Designed to use existing airports, the Airbus A380 takes off and lands in less distance than today's largest airliner. While it is heavier because it carries more passengers, the Airbus A380 has more wheels to spread its weight, and thus has less impact on runways. In response to airport recommendations, the length and wingspan of the A380 have been limited to less than 80 m, making it easier to integrate the world?s largest airliner into their existing facilities.

With the world's largest and most modern airliner family, Airbus offers airlines a variety of aircraft sizes and ranges to suit every need, from short-to-medium haul flights with the A320 Family, through point-to-point services with the A330, A340 and A350, up to hub-to-hub flights with the 21st Century flagship A380.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.

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Note to Editors

1) More details of the Airbus A380's visits to each city, including timing and media events, where planned, will be announced nearer the time.

2) The Airbus A380 programme was launched in December 2000, and the aircraft made its first flight on 27th April 2005 from Toulouse, where it is assembled.

3) The Airbus A380 is aimed at a worldwide market for 1,650 very large aircraft worth $416 billion up to 2023, which is about 22 per cent of the total airliner market in dollar-terms.

4) The Airbus A380 is available with a choice of engines ? the Rolls-Royce Trent 900, or the Engine Alliance* GP7200.

5) Airbus A380 family customers and the number of aircraft that they have ordered are Air France (10), China Southern Airlines (5), Emirates (41 passenger and 2 freighters), Etihad Airways (4), Federal Express (10 freighters), ILFC (5 passenger and 5 freighters, Kingfisher Airlines (5), Korean Air (5), Lufthansa (15), Malaysia Airlines (6), Qatar Airways (2), Qantas Airways (12), Singapore Airlines (10), Thai Airways (6), United Parcel Service (10 freighters), and Virgin Atlantic Airways (6).

* Engine Alliance is a joint venture between General Electric Co. and Pratt & Whitney