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1st Airbus A380 set for Singapore delivery
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Looking to make a financial and credibility comeback, Airbus is scheduled to deliver its first A380 superjumbo commercial jet Monday.


The double-decker jet, the world's largest passenger plane, is to take off from the southwestern city of Toulouse, Airbus' headquarters, for delivery to Singapore Airlines.



Airbus President and Chief Executive Thomas Enders called the handover "a major milestone for the A380 program" in a statement released by the company Friday.


Five Airbus CEOs have come and gone while numerous delays in the A380 program resulted in massive write-offs and a restructuring plan that foresees 10,000 job cuts over four years -- not to mention billions of dollars in lost profit.


Such delays have also damaged Airbus' reputation, and US rival Boeing Co. grabbed the top sales spot in 2006.


The A380's inaugural commercial flight has been set for October 25 from Singapore to Sydney. Singapore Airlines has auctioned all seats on the first flight on eBay, raising about US$1.25 million for charity.


John Leahy, Airbus' chief salesman, suggested that the A380's problems will be over once the plane gets into commercial service.


"When this airplane is out flying, my marketing job will get a lot easier," he told The Associated Press in an interview last week.


The A380 includes glamorous features such as a cocktail bar complete with water fountain and a duty-free lounge. Some airlines will offer passengers the chance to freshen up with a shower.


(Xinhua News Agency via agencies October 16, 2007)

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