The new A380 super jumbo jet has taken to the air for the first time with a plane load of real passengers; but the successful flight was overshadowed by news that makers Airbus have chosen to replace the man in charge of the troubled project. The world’s largest airliner took off from Toulouse airport with 474 members of Airbus staff – winners of an internal lottery for the right to travel on the historic seven hour flight. They will now give user feedback on onboard facilities such as seating, air-conditioning and in flight entertainments.
But Airbus chief executive Christian Strieff chose the occasion to announce he was removing French project manager Charles Champion and replacing him with Mario Heinen from Luxembourg. The move was a reminder of the difficulties the A380 project has faced – Champion is the third senior official to lose his job over it.