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Wed, Mar 29, 2006

It's Official: A380 Passed Evac Test, With Acceptable Losses

No Second Test Needed; 853 Pax Maximum Authorized

The European Aviation and Safety Agency (EASA) and the American Federal Aviation Administration, FAA gave their official "seal of approval" Wednesday to the successful A380 evacuation trial performed at Airbus' site in Hamburg, Germany last weekend. A total of 853 passengers and 20 crew members left the aircraft within 78 seconds, thereby validating 853 as the maximum passenger seating capacity for the A380-800.

As Aero-News reported earlier this week, the evacuation test was performed in complete darkness through only half of the 16 exits of the A380. The available exits that had been selected by authorities overseeing the mock evacuation were not known to any of the passengers and crew before the test.

"This is an exceptional result and a remarkable success for Airbus. We have passed a major milestone on the road to Certification," said Airbus COO and Head of A380 programme Charles Champion. "I would like to thank all participants, the crew and all teams who worked for months on this exercise. They did a fantastic job."

One man suffered a broken leg during the evacuation, and 32 others received minor burns from the evacuation slides. Those are considered acceptable injuries during an aircraft evacuation -- where the first priority is survival.

The "passengers" who suffered injuries when arriving on the ground were immediately taken care of by the medical emergency and first aid service available on the site. Airbus states it will provide all the support required to the injured participants.

Airbus called the A380 evacuation test the most stringent ever performed, and the first ever on a double-deck passenger aircraft. The aircraft was fitted with the highest possible density cabin layout.

The joint EASA and FAA approval of the original test also means Airbus will not need to run a second test, with new participants.

The A380 is designed to carry an average of 555 passengers in a three class layout over distances up to 8,000 nm. To date, 159 A380s have been ordered by 16 customers, with the first due to be delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines before the end of the year.

FMI: www.airbus.com

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