The European Aviation and Safety Agency (EASA) and the American Federal Aviation Administration, FAA gave their "seal of approval" to the successful A380 evacuation trial performed at Airbus' site in Hamburg, Germany, on Sunday, 26th March, during which 853 passengers and 20 crew members left the aircraft within 78 seconds. They herewith validated 853 as the maximum passenger seating capacity, for the A380-800.

As per regulation, the evacuation test was performed in complete darkness through only half of the 16 exits of the A380. The exits that had been selected by the Authorities to be operative 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."

The evacuation test was 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. In addition there were two flight crew members and 18 cabin crews from Lufthansa on board to manage the evacuation in a representative way.

The A380 is designed to carry an average of 555 passengers in a three class layout over distances up to 8,000 nm/15,000 km. To-date, 159 A380s have been ordered by 16 customers, with the first due to be delivered to first operator Singapore Airlines before the end of the year.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.