France: Elaborate ceremony of the world’s largest airbus

The &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Airbus A380 -- the largest passenger plane in the world -- was unveiled Tuesday in an elaborate ceremony in France, attended by European leaders.

Nearly 5,000 people were on hand to get the first official look at the "superjumbo" jet, including the leaders of France, Britain, Germany and Spain -- the Airbus's four government backers.

British Prime Minister &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Tony Blair said the A380 was a symbol of European cooperation at its best. "This is the most exciting new aircraft in the world, a symbol of economic strength and technical innovation," he said, as CTV News reported.

The Airbus A380, with an 80-metre wingspan and a tail as tall as a seven-storey building, cost $13 billion US to develop.

It seats at least 555 passengers, 33 per cent more than &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Boeing's 747, and has 49 per cent more floor space. It can carry as many as 840 people, depending on the seat configuration. The jet, which has been designed to fly more than 15,000 kilometres without refuelling, features a three-class cabin layout, and will have space for features such as on-board shops, bars, casinos or nurseries, says CBC News.

According to the Indian Express, building the world’s largest passenger plane, of course, is not the same as turning a profit on it. Airbus gathered the heads of the 14 carriers that have ordered the A380 to testify to its appeal. Several said they needed a larger plane to serve congested airports like Heathrow in London.

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