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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
'Superjumbo' photos are released
Airbus A380
The A380 pre-production model is due to be used in trials next year
Photographs of the first full-sized version of the giant new Airbus A380 airliner have been released.

The pictures show a pre-production model of the aeroplane being moved to a new hangar in France. Final versions will carry 555 people.

The A380 is being assembled at Airbus's base in Toulouse, but its wings are being made at sites in Bristol and Broughton, North Wales.

The aircraft pictured will be used in tests due to begin next year.

Airbus has already secured 129 orders for the double-decker aircraft with 11 airlines, including Qantas, Lufthansa, Air France and Virgin Atlantic.


The first A380 is due to enter service in 2006.

The A380 has wider seats, more legroom and 50% more floor space than its nearest competitor, the Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

It also has a 9,000 miles (14,500km) flight range. Some versions could also include a gym or casino.

Sections of the aircraft are manufactured in Germany and Spain, as well as France and the UK.

Airbus A380
Length: 73m
Wingspan: 79.8m
Height: 24.1m
Typical capacity: 555
Max capacity: 840
Engines: 4
Cruising speed: Mach 0.85

The pictures have been released ahead of next week's Farnborough Air Show, where Airbus and its American rival Boeing could make announcements about aircraft orders.

Boeing pulled out of the race to build the world's biggest airliner in 2001, saying the market for very large aircraft was smaller than Airbus believed.

It has come up with the 7E7 Dreamliner, a smaller aircraft with a similar range to the A380.

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