"Born to Fly"
Marion C. Blakey, Toulouse, France
December 12, 2006

A-380


Good afternoon, and thank you.

Today is indeed a great day for aviation. What we see before us today is not just an airplane capable of moving 850 passengers. No, what we see today — what brings us here — is an example of superb cooperation among Airbus, EASA and the FAA; an example of what happens when there's a resolution to get the job done.

This is the first major leap in aircraft capacity in over 35 years. The design and manufacture of the A-380 is a classic case of 21st century engineering. The certificates we present today are a testament to the safety of this airplane. This plane is 300,000 pounds heavier than the next largest passenger commercial airplane. In its largest configuration, it also carries roughly 200 more passengers than any other aircraft on the market. All of aviation, on an international scale, stepped up to the plate to ensure that we were ready to deal with the size of this airplane, especially in terms of airports and airspace. Frankly, we'd never had to deal with something this big.

I think the size of this aircraft is indicative of just how big dreams can be. With a takeoff weight of more than 1.2 million pounds, there's little question that man, in fact, was born to fly. It's the largest and the heaviest commercial airplane ever built.

From a certification standpoint, this was a huge challenge for the FAA and our European colleagues. This is the first-ever concurrent certification between EASA and FAA. And I want to compliment my European colleagues. Today, we're saying that this aircraft is safe for flight. Closer cooperation amongst our technical specialists made it happen. We're grateful for that. The FAA is working hard to run more like a business, and concurrent certification projects can help us get there.

In closing, let me say that this is a good thing, a very good thing. When you bring great minds together, safety is the natural by-product. And safety, after all, is what gives man wings to fly. Again, my congratulations. The A-380 is ready for takeoff.

###