British Airways has been conducting initial test flights with its Airbus A380 having temporarily deployed the aircraft to Manston airport.

It has been operating the A380 on flights through northern French airspace - around Paris and Chateauroux - after relocating to Manston from London Heathrow on 15 July.

BA A380 thumb 

BA is performing the test flights after formally taking delivery of the 469-seat aircraft on 4 July.

The aircraft also conducted a sortie off the Kent coast on 16 July, alongside a BAE Systems Hawk - designated "Red 10" - from the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows aerobatic display team.

 BA A380 Red Arrows


BA is to fly the A380 with the Red Arrows at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on 20 July.

"Putting a jet behind or alongside an aircraft of the size of the A380 obviously involves a great deal of precision but the task is essentially the same as the careful flying required for air-to-air refuelling with a big tanker," says Sqn Ldr Mike Ling.

 BA A380 Red Arrow flying

Ling, the pilot of "Red 10", says: "We were able to work through all of the safety and technical aspects required to make [the RIAT flypast] possible."

BA is to build A380 experience by operating the aircraft on short-haul flights between London and Frankfurt. It aims to put the type into full revenue service in September, initially on the Los Angeles route, before expanding to Hong Kong.

BA A380 Manston 


Source: Flight International