Below is the full text of FAA Adminstrator Marion Blakey's
speech at Tuesday's ceremony awarding joint EASA/FAA
type-certification to the Airbus A380 --
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 A380 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
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 A380 is ready for takeoff.