Etihad Airways has become the second Middle East carrier after Emirates to welcome the A380 to its home base. An A380 test aircraft flew into Abu Dhabi for hot weather testing on the 24 July and Etihad used the occasion to show off the aircraft (see the pictures below).
The arid Gulf provides an ideal location for heat testing, which must be performed at outside temperatures over 38_C. The tests look at the performance of the engines, auxiliary power unit, air conditioning, hydraulic and electrical systems, both in the air and on the ground.
Etihad has placed an $8 billion order with Airbus for 24 aircraft, including four A380s. The A380′s huge capacity – it can accommodate up to 555 guests in a standard three-zone configuration – has ensured abundant media attention. “The A380 is set to change the future of air travel,” said Etihad Airways chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan.
After the visit to Abu Dhabi, the A380 will continue hot weather testing in Al Ain. These tests form part of the A380′s overall EASA and FAA certification programme.