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Airbus's Giant A380 Completes First Flight

The new Airbus A380, the world's biggest airliner, landed in Toulouse, France on April 26 after its maiden flight in the skies of France. Airbus is 80% owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company and 20% by BAE Systems of Britain. EADS itself comprises industrial groups from France, Germany and Spain.

"The A380's development shows what Europe can do through cooperation and investment in skills, research and technologies," said industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen, a German national. French President Jacques Chirac pointed to the "magnificent result of European industrial cooperation", and in Berlin, deputy economy minister Ditmar Staffelt called the flight "proof of Europe's high technical capabilities".

Earlier this week, Boeing stole a bit of Airbus' thunder by announcing two major orders for its own pet project, the fuel-efficient B787 passenger jet that should make its own maiden flight in about two years.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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