Airbus has taken advantage of scheduled development test flights to assess the impact on the aircraft and its flight systems within the volcanic ash on aircraft over Europe. Airbus A380 MSN 4, powered with four EA engines, and A340-600 MSN 360, fitted with Rolls Royce engines, took off at 14.25 and 14.50 (French time) respectively from Toulouse airport. During the flights, Airbus' experimental flight test crew will observe aircraft and engine behaviours in the ash cloud and a thorough post flight aircraft and engine inspection will be performed after landing.
The A380 is planned to fly within French airspace and the A340-600 in French and German airspace as per normal procedures. Airbus will share the findings from these flights with the relevant airworthiness authorities and engine manufacturers as soon as possible.
Tom Enders, President and CEO of Airbus said: "We are fully committed to work in close coordination with the aeronautical community and provide all technical assistance we can. Obviously, the entire industry wants to find a solution as soon as possible and see aircraft flying again in the European skies."
Airbus is committed to support authorities evaluating the safe conditions to fly by offering them full technical assistance.