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A380 superjumbo passes key evacuation test

The Airbus A380 has passed its emergency evacuation test, the European aircraft maker announced Wednesday, an important step toward the superjumbo’s official certification for commercial flights.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Airbus A380 has passed its emergency evacuation test, the European aircraft maker announced Wednesday, an important step toward the superjumbo’s official certification for commercial flights.

Both the European Aviation and Safety Agency and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved the A380’s performance in an emergency evacuation drill conducted in a darkened aircraft hangar Sunday with 853 volunteers and 20 on-board staff.

One volunteer broke a leg and about 30 others sustained minor injuries during the drill in Hamburg, Germany, when all 873 participants evacuated the plane in under 80 seconds, using only eight of its 16 exits.

Airbus Chief Operating Officer Charles Champion said in a statement that the A380 had “passed a major milestone on the road to certification.”

Airbus aims to deliver the first two superjumbos to its launch customer Singapore Airlines by the end of this year — about six months behind the original production schedule.

The Toulouse, France-based jetmaker is majority owned by European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.