First aircraft could be ready for Dubai airline to begin system tests early next year

Emirates hopes to gain extra time to prepare for next year's service entry of its A380 fleet if Airbus can remain ahead of schedule with the completion of its first aircraft.

The Dubai-based airline's first A380 is MSN011, which is due for delivery in August next year. The aircraft was structurally completed at Toulouse by early 2006, but has been undergoing reworking along with other early-build A380s following wiring problems.

Emirates Airline president Tim Clark says an audit by Emirates of the rework and completion effort, as well as information provided by Airbus, indicates the first aircraft could be completed early next year, slightly sooner than Airbus had previously forecast.

emirates a380 
© Max Kingsley-Jones  

MSN011, Emirates' first A380 (above), is being reworked in Toulouse

"It could be ready by January or February," says Clark. "We would still take delivery in August, but the earlier availability would allow us to undertake extensive systems checks, and give us a good level of maturity at service entry." The A380 could also be used for crew training in Toulouse.

However, Clark cautions that MSN011 is still to have its buyer-furnished equipment installed, and with the prospect of possible industrial action at Airbus, the schedule could still change.

Emirates has a 1 November 2008 service-entry target, by which time it should have received its first three A380s. Leading launch destination candidates include London, New York and Sydney.

Source: Flight International