Airbus is finalising plans to take its A380 on a visit to the bases of early customers Emirates, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Qantas Airways and Singapore Airlines (SIA).

Airbus says the first A380, which is in its flight-test programme, is scheduled to visit Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the first half of next month, before going on to the Dubai air show in the second half of the month.

Oneworld alliance member Qantas says the tour to Australia of the prototype, MSN001, is coming “following a special request from Qantas”. It says “a firm timetable for the A380’s visit was being finalised with Airbus”, but that plans call for the aircraft to arrive in Australia in the lead-up to 85th anniversary of the airline on 16 November.

“Airbus representatives were in Australia last week to meet with Qantas, CASA [Civil Aviation Safety Authority] and airport operators in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to discuss the considerable logistical effort that will be involved in the A380’s visit,” it says.

Star Alliance member SIA is to be the first operator of the A380 and is expected to take delivery of its first aircraft in November next year, around six months later than initially planned. Emirates and Qantas will receive their first aircraft several months later, also around six months later than initially planned. MAS’s first A380 is due for delivery in July 2007.

Source: Flight International