The Airbus A380 MSN009 powered by Engine Alliance GP7200 engines, took off from Toulouse today at 09:40 am local time for a six and a half hour flight to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia where it will complete a series of high altitude tests.

Addis Ababa is an airport situated at 7,500 feet, from which the A380 will perform tests to validate the engines’ performance from high altitude airports. The A380 is scheduled to continue from Addis Ababa at the end of this week for hot weather tests to be performed at Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

The A380 is piloted today by Test Pilots, Etienne Tarnowski and Ignacio Lombo. The other crew members are Test Flight Engineer, Bruno Bigand and Flight Test Engineers, Manfred Birnfeld and Jean-Philippe Cottet.

MSN009 is the fifth developmental A380 aircraft that joined the fleet of A380 test aircraft in August. The A380 MSN009 is powered by four GP7200 Engine Alliance engines, which have a capacity of delivering a thrust up to 81,500 pounds (37 tonnes) each. Six A380 customers have selected the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine for a total of 82 firm aircraft orders.

Extreme weather testing is part of the overall European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification programme. So far, the five A380 developmental aircraft have accumulated 2247 test flight hours in 700 flights. The certification programme is on track and the aircraft’s performance is often exceeding expectations.

Airbus is an EADS company.