Toulouse, France (AP) –The Airbus A380, hobbled by delays, takes off Monday for Asia on the first leg of a final bid for certification by mid-December.
The superjumbo was to fly from Toulouse, in southwest France, to Singapore with a roundtrip flight to Seoul, South Korea, before returning to its home base on Thursday.
This was the first of four trips, to end Nov. 30, to meet requirements for over 150 flight hours in a normal operational environment to obtain “type certification” by mid-December, spokeswoman Maggie Bergsma said. The aircraft departs again on Friday for Hong Kong and Narita, Japan.
Representatives of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency were traveling aboard the flights.
Airbus, a European consortium, is trying to salvage the image of the A380, a double-decker superjumbo meant to shine as the ideal passenger carrier of the future but tarnished by management crises and delays.
Airbus shocked investors and customers in June by blaming wiring problems for pushing back delivery of the 555-seater A380’s production delay by a year. Then in early October it doubled the holdup to a total of two years and said it would cost parent company EADS $6 billion in lost profits over four years.