Aircraft May Be Registered In US, EU... But No Deliveries
ANN REALTIME REPORTING 12.12.06 1000 EST: By
whatever name you may call it -- superjumbo, gigabus, megaliner, or
whalejet -- you can now add another word to describe the 555-seat
Airbus A380: Certified.
At a ceremony Tuesday in Toulouse, France, company CEO Louis
Gallois received joint approvals from the European Aviation Safety
Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is
the first large aircraft to be certfied by EASA, and it is also the
first time the European and US aviation agencies have issued a
The A380 is the largest aircraft ever to be approved to carry
passengers -- a distinction held by Boeing's 747 for the past 36
EASA's type-certificate confirms that the design of the aircraft
complies with European safety and environmental standards. It also
means the A380 can be legally registered, and operated commercially
throughout the European Union, once Airbus begins delivery of the
aircraft. The type-certificate is also valid in Switzerland,
Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
For now, only the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered A380 is
certified. A version of the plane powered by Engine Alliance GP7200
turbofans is still undergoing tests, and should be approved for
service next year.
At the same time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
issued its "validation" of the A380 certification for the US
Patrick Goudou, the Agency’s Executive Director, described
the A380 project as a “symbol of international
co-operation”, and praised the “good collaboration
between the Agency and the FAA” as a model for future
The certification process for the A380 began in 1998 with the
French aviation authority, and was taken over by EASA when it
started operations in 2003. A team of 42 certification specialists
headed by the Agency have scrutinized the aircraft’s design
involving hundreds of demonstrations and flight tests.
Arguably, receiving type-certification isn't the most difficult
hurdle Airbus had to overcome with the A380. That still lies ahead,
as Airbus fights to revise problematic wiring harnesses that have
led to two production delays this year -- and has held up awarding
of the production certification necessary for Airbus to start
putting planes in customers' hands.
While Airbus still has issues to overcome before the plane
is delivered to customers -- many of which will have waited close
to two years past their original delivery schedules, by the time
they start flying their aircraft -- Tuesday's ceremony was all
about the warm-fuzzies.
"Its beginnings are overshadowed by a serious industrial problem
-- I don't want to hide it -- but from a technical point of view we
can now confirm the plane is meeting or even exceeding the
expectations in terms of performance, range, environmental
friendliness and cabin comfort," Gallois said at the
"This is the first major leap in aircraft capacity in over 35
years," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. "What we see before
us today is not just an airplane capable of moving 850 passengers.
What we see today is an example of superb cooperation among Airbus,
EASA and the FAA."