With additional reporting by Justin Wastnage

German flag-carrier Lufthansa has detailed plans for a series of commercial route-proving flights it will undertake with the Airbus A380, which will include the first arrival of the jet in the USA.

It is set to depart from Frankfurt Main airport on 17 March and operate to New York JFK, fly on to destinations including Hong Kong and Star Alliance partner United Airlines' Washington Dulles East Coast hub by 28 March, of which more details were revealed yesterday. The series will close with a service to Munich.

Lufthansa says the tests will enable the aircraft to demonstrate for the first time its “operational maturity under realistic conditions”. The flights will enable personnel to conduct practical tests with the jet.

These will include assessing systems such as the air conditioning, lighting, acoustics and in-flight entertainment as well as the functioning of the galley equipment.

Lufthansa will also carry out tests of the airport ground infrastructure used to service the A380 at its Frankfurt hub. Frankfurt Main was one of the airports used for compatibility trials during early tests of the aircraft.

“The airline intends to match the turnaround time of the new aircraft, from landing to take-off, with that of the much-smaller long-haul jets already in operation,” says the carrier.

Lufthansa will use manufacturer's aircraft serial number 007, the same aircraft used during Airbus’s A380 media flight from Toulouse on 7 February for which it was configured with 519 seats. Lufthansa has previously provided cabin crew for test flights on the A380. The airline has 15 A380s on order with the first to arrive in 2009.

Meanwhile, Dulles has unveiled its plan for A380 Day on 25 March. The airport says: "the A380 operation will not be permitted to adversely impact our tenant carriers." Lufthansa is negotiating with Air France to allow the aircraft to use the jetways at gates B41 & B43. 

The A380 would arrive at 21:30 and offload passengers before repositioning the aircraft to hard stand H15 by 23:30. The following day the airport would load passengers via a mobile lounge from Signature Flight Support at 11:50 and depart for a VIP flight, scheduled to return at 13:20. The A380 will depart the USA from B41/B43 at 16:20 with ground handling provided by Evergreen Aviation.

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Source: FlightGlobal.com