Thousands of people turned out Saturday to see the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, land in Germany to check whether continental Europe's largest airport is adequately prepared to deal with it.
The superjumbo touched down Saturday morning at Frankfurt Airport on its debut flight into a commercial airport in Germany, part of a second round of route tests for the new jet.
Airbus chief Gustav Humbert said a replacement plane had made the 90-minute flight from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, after technicians noticed overheating problems in one of the engines of the test model originally earmarked for the trip.
"We're very satisfied with the test results and are on target," Humbert told reporters at the airport.
The plane taxied to terminal 2, where airport operator Fraport AG is spending some â‚¬100 million (US$120 million) to upgrade the facility.
Officials said they would also test the gangways and equipment to load and unload cargo from the hold. A fire drill also was planned.
Thousands of onlookers were allowed onto the tarmac at the former military section of the airport, though morning fog partly obscured their view. The double-decker plane and its six crew were to return to Toulouse on Sunday morning.
The A380, which eclipses the Boeing 747 as the world's biggest passenger plane, has a maximum takeoff weight of 560 tons and can carry 555 travelers in three classes. Airbus plans to deliver the first plane to Singapore Airlines at the end of 2006.
German flag carrier Lufthansa, which uses Frankfurt as its main hub for international flights and recently bought a 5 percent stake in Fraport, has also ordered 15 of the planes for delivery from 2007.
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