The world's largest passenger aircraft set another record last week. 16 emergency slides were deployed at the same time using only the aircraft's battery power. This is the largest number of evacuation slides ever inflated simultaneously in any passenger aircraft.

The tests form part of an overall European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification programme. The test is another marker paving the way for certification by the end of 2006.

In the test, the aircraft must provide routes of escape to occupants from all doorways in the event of an emergency. The deployment of the emergency slides must only be powered by the aircrafts internal battery reserves.

Typically the A380 will have around 555 seats in three classes although many airliners will have fewer than 500. The A380 will allow passengers even in economy class to enjoy more room than in any other aircraft.

The A380 will allow airliners to grow as passenger traffic increases - a particular advantage in fast growing regions such as Asia, India and the Middle East.

The A380 will be the greenest aircraft ever built with fuel consumption per passenger equivalent to a small family car. It will also be one of the quietest large aircraft ever complying with strict noise restrictions at London's Heath Row airport.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.