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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 17:19 GMT
A380 completes maiden US voyage
Airbus A380 landing in New York
The arrivals in New York and Los Angeles were historic

The Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane, has landed on US soil for the first time after a test flight.

The superjumbo, carrying about 500 people, arrived in New York from Frankfurt, and was greeted by a large crowd of enthusiastic spectators.

The flight was billed as the first time it has carried a near-normal number of passengers, though most were staff of Airbus and German airline Lufthansa.

A second A380 landed later in Los Angeles but without any passengers.

The Qantas branded flight also arrived from Frankfurt.

Delays

The test flights are being used to monitor everything from how easily the plane docks at the terminal gate to the way the in-flight dining and entertainment services work.

Delays have dogged the 73m-long A380. Deliveries to Singapore Airlines, its launch customer, are not due until October - two years late.

Captain Juergen Raps in the cockpit of the A380
Captain Juergen Raps flew one of the planes across the Atlantic

The delays have already cost Airbus more than $6bn (3.3bn) and the company has warned there could be additional charges to come.

The problems are largely behind a recently-announced restructuring programme at Airbus, called Power8, which will see about 10,000 jobs go and several factories sold to partners.

France will be worst hit with 4,300 job losses. Germany will see 3,700 jobs go, while the UK and Spain will see 1,600 and 400 jobs cut respectively.

Meanwhile, the Belgian government has said it will give up to 150m euros in aid to help its sub-contractors which supply Airbus and employ thousands of workers.


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