Airbus' A380 will be the highlight of the Dubai airshow where, wearing Emirates colours, it will fly each day. This is the first time that the Airbus A380 has displayed at an airshow outside Europe, the first time that it is wearing a full airline livery, and the first time that it has visited Dubai.

Emirates was the first airline to select the A380 and is the largest customer for it, with plans to fly 45, including two on lease. The double-deck 21st Century flagship has been chosen by 16 prestigious airlines that have already ordered an impressive 159 aircraft, including Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, with four and two, respectively.

Offering passengers wider seats, even in economy, the Airbus A380 is the world's most economical aircraft, being 15-20 per cent better per seat than today's largest aircraft. It is also a good neighbour, with fewer emissions and only half the noise of very large aircraft flying today - as spectators will be able to judge for themselves.

The Airbus A380 being displayed at Dubai is one of five aircraft in a flight test programme that began in April this year and will total some 2,500 hours. Its cabin is full of heavy test-instrumentation - including recorders and barrels of water to simulate the weight of passengers and cargo.

The three aircraft currently in the flight-test programme have now flown more than 520 hours in over 140 flights, and continue to make excellent progress. Milestones include an early demonstration of an automatic landing, minimum unstick-speed trials, and a thorough check of aircraft behaviour throughout a wide range of speeds and heights.

Airbus also began A380 airport compatibility checks in October, with a visit to Frankfurt.

Airbus is present at the Dubai airshow with a chalet A45-46 and on stand 206 in Hall C, at which it will highlight the whole of its product line. It has always recognised that airlines need different aircraft for different jobs, and offers point-to-point aircraft such as the A330, A340 and A350 - as well as the hub-to-hub A380.

Launched in October, the Airbus A350 is Airbus' newest aircraft, and carries 30 more people, eight per cent more economically per seat and 300 nm/555 km further than the newest competing aircraft. A completely new aircraft, featuring a carbonfibre wing and 60 per cent advanced materials, the A350 nevertheless retains the same type-rating as the A330, allowing pilots to switch easily from one to the other.

Qatar Airways is the first and largest customer for the A350 with an order for 60, and other airlines in the region are also interested in it. Total sales of the Airbus A350 stand at more than 140, from ten customers, highlighting the keen interest that it is winning from airlines in the Middle East and around the world.

Airbus forecasts that airlines in the Middle East and North Africa will need a total of more than 1,000 airliners, of all different sizes, worth $124 billion, up to the year 2023. With the world's most modern airliner family and long-established partnerships with carriers in the region, it expects to win at least a half of this market.

Airbus has won the most airliner sales worldwide in five of the past six years, will deliver the most airliners this year for the third year running, and is the leader in airliner innovation and helping its customers to get the best out of their aircraft.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.