Testing of the Airbus 380 at a high altitude field (7700'), was on the program last week. My cousin witnessed the departure of this giant at Bole airport (Addis Ababa). The airport in Ethiopia has proven to be fitted for operations with this new aircraft. It is one of the 24 airports worldwide ready for handling this giant by the end of 2006. It is expected that by 2010 only 60 airports around the world will be fitted to handle this aircraft. According to Airbus the A380 can perform take-offs and landings at shorter runways than other widebody aircraft. The wingspan and surface are supposed to provide more lift and less drag.

Engine Alliance, a consortuim of General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, deliver 59% of the engines for the presnet 159 (?) orders, distributed over 16 costomers. Part of the flighttest at Bole International Airport is the certification of these engines. The GP7200 isdeveloped based upon two succesfull wide body engines: the GE90 and de PW4000. Certified at a powerlevel of 76500 pounds (340kN) the jetengine can provide a maximum 81500 pounds (363kN).

The new Airbus, burdened by delivery delays, can transport 555 passengers in a three class configuration. The crew consists of 20 members. The aircraft has been crtified for a maximum of 853 passengers in high density configuration. The aircraft assumes a lower cost per seatkilometer than the relevant competitors. The vast fuel capacity provides the capability to render economical refueling policies. According to The Daily Monitor, Ethiopian airlines will not order any A380 in the nearby future. However they are operating the A330 and they are potential customer for the A350 XWB. Ethiopian Airlines is launching customer for the Boeing 787. In any case airport Bole is prepared for the first A380's commercial flights.