A380 Rollout...

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But Will It Fly?

Well, it's here, it's big and it's beautiful, in a plus-size kind of way. The question remains, will the Airbus A380, which was rolled out in a splashy ceremony on Tuesday, take off? The practical answer to that question will come in March with the first test flight. But as airlines all over the world retrench in a pitched battle with cut-rate upstarts, pundits wonder if the Clipper-like service possible on the double-decker behemoth is a thing of the past, and some planners wonder if the ability of airports to accommodate the aircraft (and its passengers) is yet a thing of the future. But Tuesday was a day for a remarkable first, and skepticism was brushed aside in the giddiness that accompanies such an occasion. British Prime Minister Tony Blair termed the A380 an example of European cooperation at its best (components are built in 15 plants in four countries) and hailed it as the greatest aviation development (notwithstanding Concorde) since the Boeing 747.