The majestic Airbus A380 will once again be the star of the show, as Asian Aerospace, Singapore Airlines and the crowds welcome the “jumbo of the 21st century”.

The countdown to service entry has begun, with the flight-test programme well advanced, and SIA now due to take delivery of the first aircraft to go into service in November.

SIA Airbus A380 landing W445

The airline is reported to be still seeking compensation for the late delivery, but despite that the emphasis at the show is on how SIA will lead the airline business into the A380 era.

As the aircraft, in full SIA livery, puts on a quite startling show in the daily flying display with manoeuvres including a max-alpha flyby followed by a max power turning climb and then pushover into a descent and curved finals to land, the airline’s marketing team is cranking up the hype before service entry. The airline has unveiled a new logo – “First to fly A380: Experience the difference in 2006.”

Its competitors are not far behind. Malaysia Airlines evokes the A380 as the fulfilment of a dream, complemented by a print advertisement showing a virtual A380 flying in the airline’s livery.

But it is SIA that remains in poll position and will launch the first services between Singapore and London. The carrier has ordered 10 A380s worth $8.6 billion and has options on 15 more.

The aircraft flying at Singapore – MSN 004 - has just successfully completed its cold weather evaluations at Iqaluit, Canada. There, it spent five days in conditions of up to -30°C (-22°F) to prove full functionality of systems in extreme weather conditions. Earlier, the same aircraft spent a week at Medellin, Colombia being put through its high-altitude evaluation.

Three Rolls-Royce-powered A380s have so far accumulated more than 900h flying time in more than 250 flights. The Engine Alliance GP7200-powered A380 will join the flight-test programme in mid-2006.

The third A380 to fly was ferried to Hamburg to have a cabin installed. The fourth copy is expected to fly soon and will also have a full cabin installed, including first and business class seating.

Meanwhile, Flight International reports today that the wing of the Airbus A380 static test specimen suffered a structural failure below the ultimate load target during trials in Toulouse last week, but Airbus is confident that it will not need to modify production aircraft.  The failure was at 98.5% of the target.

To date, Airbus has sold 159 A380s to 16 customers.

Source: Flight Daily News