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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 14:12 GMT
A380 starting final test flights
Airbus A380
The A380 project is running two years late
An Airbus A380 is due to fly from France to Singapore later on Monday in the first of four final test flights for the troubled superjumbo.

The flights are being carried out to allow the final reliability checks to secure the A380 its certificate to enter commercial operation.

With the remaining test flights due to visit China and Canada, Airbus aims to get the clearance by mid-December.

The A380 project has been hit by a number of costly delays.

Cancellations and deferrals

The four test flights between now and 30 November will see representatives from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration join the test crews.

Now running two years late due to wiring problems, Airbus' parent firm EADS said earlier this month that the delays to the A380 project had cost it 1bn euros ($1.3bn; 674m) in the three months to the end of September.

The problems with the A380 project also led to the departure earlier this year of former Airbus boss Gustav Humbert.

Last week global delivery business Fedex said it had cancelled its order for 10 A380s as a result of the delays, instead choosing to buy 15 Boeing 777 planes.

A further result of the delays is that most of the airlines who have ordered A380s are now reported to be in negotiations to try and improve the terms on which they are buying the aircraft.

Emirates has already warned it might cancel some of its order for 43 planes, while Virgin Atlantic has deferred its order for four years to 2013.

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