MEBA: Airbus prepares to deliver first A380 for VIP customer

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Airbus plans to deliver the first green VIP A380 in the second half of next year.

The widebody airliner was ordered three years ago by Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, who has yet to select a company to complete the aircraft, says Airbus vice-president executive and private aviation Francois Chazelle. Only a handful of completion centres have the capacity to undertake a project on this scale, he says. These include Switzerland's Jet Aviation and AMAC Aerospace, and Germany's Lufthansa Technik.

Chazelle says there is a market for around 30 VIP A380s with the bulk of the demand coming from the Middle East. The aircraft has 551m2 (5,930ft2) of floorspace - 30% more than its nearest rival the Boeing 747 - and the accommodation is spread across two complete decks. This suits the Middle Eastern culture, where men and women are often segregated. The next VIP A380 delivery slot is in the middle of the decade.

Four Airbus types are on display in the static park. Al Jaber Aviation is showcasing its A318 Elite for the first time. The aircraft is the first of its type in the Middle East to be dedicated for charter operations. Germany's DC Aviation is displaying its Airbus Corporate Jetliner along with Switzerland's Comlux Aviation, which is also exhibiting its Elite.