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Germany

German Crowds Cheer Airbus Superjumbo

The superjumbo Airbus A380 made its first appearance in Germany Saturday drawing 150,000 spectators to watch
it take to the air in the northern city of Hamburg. Part of the fuselage of the plane, capable of carrying up to 840 passengers and due to enter service late next year, is made in the city. "For all us of it is the crowning of a fascinating period," Ulrich Weber, director of the Airbus plant, said after the aircraft had made three passes over the factory. "We all had a role in getting to this point today." Under sunny skies the double-decker A380 flew over the plant and the river Elbe at a height of 200 metres (660 feet) and a speed of 260 kilometres (160 miles) an hour as part of an open day orgnaized each year by Airbus. The crowd, in festive mood with picnics, binoculars and cameras, cheered and boats on the river sounded their hooters as the plane flew over. "It is a great day of which we can all be proud," said Airbus-Germany boss Gerhard Puttfarcken. It was the first time the A380, which made its inaugural flight in Toulouse in southwest France on April 27, had been seen outside France. It was also on show at the Paris air show in June. The Hamburg factory is one of the three biggest aircraft manufacturing plants in the world, with that at Toulouse and the Boeing factory in Seattle in the United States. It employs 10,575 people, more than 2,000 working on the A380.