The Airbus A380 will take off from France on Monday for a round-the-world test mission, in the final hurdle before the superjumbo becomes the largest passenger plane in service.
The A380 will leave the southern French city of Toulouse at 10:00 am (1430 IST) for Singapore in the first of seven stops in Asia, an Airbus official said. The crew will then touch down in Australia, South Africa and Canada during the 17-day round of technical tests.
On-board engineers and certified test pilots will put the plane through its paces under simulated commercial conditions, including test landings at key airports, refueling practices and maintenance work.
The 150 hours of flying, which are expected to be the last major tests before approval from regulators next month, come at a difficult time for Airbus amid a hailstorm of bad publicity for its star project.
Airbus has been forced to push back its timetable for deliveries of the A380 three times because of problems encountered when wiring the cabins, with delays now estimated at about two years.
US mail group FedEx announced on November 7 it had cancelled an order for 10 cargo versions of the A380 because of delays to deliveries of the aircraft.
Its competitor Boeing, however, has gone from strength-to-strength on the back of buoyant demand for its 787 Dreamliner jet.