Airbus says new Boeing needs a passenger evacuation test

Boeing’s biggest competitor says the new 747-8 needs fresh evacuation tests.

Travel Insurance News - 17/02/2011

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Airbus, which is Boeing’s main competitor in the civilian airliner industry, says the recently-launched 747-8 Intercontinental needs to have new passenger-evacuation tests. Airbus says the new tests are required because the latest version of Boeing’s classic jumbo jet can carry so many more people than previous versions.

The claim was issued by a senior executive at Airbus. The 747-8 Intercontinental can carry almost 470 people and was recently unveiled by Boeing at a ceremony in the same hanger where the original 747 was launched in 1968.

The latest version of the classic airliner, the 747-8 Intercontinental can carry about 12 per cent more people in typical three-class configuration than the previous version, the 747-400. The US company is seeking exemption from emergency evacuation tests because of the tests carried out on the original 747.

John Leahy, COO at Airbus, says that is ‘wrong’. He said he planned to fly on the 747-8 Intercontinental and he would like to know that it is possible to get out of the aircraft. Boeing did not issue any direct response to Mr Leahy’s comments.

Jim Proulx, speaking for the Chicago-based manufacturer, said the company would meet or exceed every certification standard. Boeing is working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US to achieve certification of the 747-8.

A spokesman for the FAA said the body could not comment yet. In emergency evacuation tests, aircraft makers fill the plane to its maximum certified capacity for passengers and crew.

The plane is plunged into darkness and doors are randomly closed. The simulated evacuation then tests the ability for all passengers to get out of the plane in an emergency.

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