Singapore Airlines' first A380 is undergoing an intense testing programme with Airbus from Toulouse to ensure the ultra-large airliner is fully service-ready for the 25 October inaugural passenger flight announced by the airline last week.
Airbus will deliver SIA's first A380 (MSN003) on 15 October registered 9V-SKA, and the 471-seater will enter service 10 days later between Singapore and Sydney (flight SQ380). It will return to Singapore the following day. Before the aircraft's production delays, SIA was due to receive its first A380 by the middle of last year.
The Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered version of the A380, which SIA has ordered, received European and US certification last year. However, testing has continued of the four development airframes and the first customer aircraft to ensure that there are no snags when the double-decker enters service.
Airbus says that SIA's first A380, which was ferried from Hamburg to Toulouse in July following cabin furnishing and painting, is undertaking a "lengthy acceptance programme" that will cover the aircraft's performance and cabin systems. Flight testing of MSN003 is being undertaken by Airbus crews and will continue until early September, says Airbus. "Once this is completed, the delivery cycle will be a bit longer than normal as it is the first aircraft of its type to be delivered, and it is also the 'head of version' for SIA," it adds.
SIA's first A380 has entered a "lengthy acceptance programme"
SIA is scheduled to take delivery of the first four production A380s before the next operators Emirates and Qantas receive their first aircraft in the second half of next year.
Emirates, which is the first customer for the Engine Alliance GP7200-powered version, is due to receive its first aircraft next August. "We remain cautiously optimistic about A380 production as things appear to be ahead at the moment," says the airline's president Tim Clark. However, he points out that "much will depend on how smoothly the cabin integration goes - we have some very complex features in our specification".
Emirates' first A380 - MSN011 - has been structurally complete for more than a year, but had to undergo rewiring like all the early-build aircraft. This aircraft, which is yet to fly, is due to be ferried to Hamburg to begin "the cabin build" at the end of this year.
Meanwhile, two of the test A380s are to operate more world tours with visits to Asia and the USA. The Asian trip will run between 30 August and 7 September and will include a stop in Hong Kong for Asian Aerospace from 3-5 September. This tour will be operated by the Trent-powered MSN007 - the aircraft that was in Dubai last week for fit tests. GP7200-powered test aircraft MSN009 will perform the US tour as part of the route proving process for the Engine Alliance powered version.