Maiden flight of Air France's A380 imminent

09:24, November 19, 2009      

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Air France is going to lift up its first A380 on Friday from Roissy airport on the Paris-New York route, thus becoming the first European airway company to put the superjumbo into service.

The inaugural flight is expected to begin from Paris at 11:45 local time and arrive at New York at 13:20 local time, with 538 passengers on board.

Among the passengers, 380 are fans of the superjumbo, who bid for the seats in online auctions through eBay, while the others are guests invited by Air France and conductors of the company.

To boosting A380's maiden flight over the Atlantic linking Europe and North America, Air France launched an online bidding for 380 seats on the airliner in October. The company promised to donate the earnings of the auction to charity organizations, but until now has not revealed the exact amount of the earnings.

Air France's first A380 will fly back from New York on Saturday, a symbolic gesture to reopen the Paris-New York course since its Concorde flight quit the line in 2003.

Air France has ordered from Airbus 12 of the giant jets, each with a capacity of 538 passengers -- nine for first class, 80 for business class and 449 for economy class.

The double-decked Airbus A380 made its maiden flight on April 27, 2005 from Toulouse, France, and made its first commercial flight on Oct. 25, 2007 from Singapore to Sydney with Singapore Airlines.

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