An Airbus A380 superjumbo will fly to China at the
end of November for route
proving in order to get its
final certification, the company said Monday.
The double-decker will fly to Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, Airbus
China President Laurence Barron told the China
International Aviation & Aerospace Forum 2006.
The forum is part of a high-profile air show held in Zhuhai, Guangdong
Province, which kicked off
yesterday and runs until November 5.
But Barron said the A380 would only be a test aircraft without a
commercial cabin interior and would not be shown to the general public.
He confirmed that China Southern Airlines, the only Chinese customer
for the 550-seat jet, would not be able to serve the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Games with the A380 due to its delayed
delivery. Barron declined to reveal when the
Guangzhou-based carrier would receive its first A380.
"There may be airlines that would probably serve the route to Beijing
with an A380," Barron said.
China Southern ordered five A380s last year. It was expected to receive
the first at the end of next year and the second in 2008.
Earlier this month, Airbus announced a further delay to the A380.
Singapore Airlines, the first customer to fly the jet, will receive its
first A380 in October next year, 10 months behind schedule. The European
aircraft maker has slashed its delivery targets to 13 in 2008 and 25 in
2009. The A380 has received 159 orders from 16 customers.
Barron said Airbus would sign a joint venture agreement today with
China Aviation Industry Corp II and China Aviation Industry Corp I
regarding details of the work package of the Airbus (Beijing) Engineering
The centre, inaugurated last summer, is expected to design A350 parts
to be manufactured in China. It is Airbus' second-largest engineering
centre outside Europe after one in the United States.