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Airbus Release First Glimpse of A380

  • Friday, 16th July 2004
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

Photographs of the first full-sized version of the Airbus A380 airliner have been released.

The images, released ahead of next week’s Farnborough Air Show, illustrate a pre-production model of the aeroplane being moved to a new hangar in France.

The A380 is due to be used in tests next year and is currently being assembled at Airbus’ base in Toulouse, France, with sections of the aircraft made in Germany and Spain, with the UK also contributing around 20 percent of parts for the new jet.

Earlier this month, images were released showing an A380 transport convoy arriving at the final assembly line in Toulouse following a three-day trip from Langon, France.

The five vehicle convoy – carrying three large fuselage sections and both wings of the second A380 – departed from the Langon river port at 10 p.m. on June 28 and arrived at the Jean-Luc Lagardère site in Toulouse in the early hours of July 1.

This was the first time five major components arrived at Langon to be transported together to Toulouse. Until now, except for tests and trials, the longest A380 transport convoy has been three vehicles carrying the three fuselage sections. All along the 240 km.-long route, hundreds of onlookers and well wishers came to see the convoy pass, despite the lateness of the hour. Movements of the convoy were made during nighttime hours to minimise the impact on traffic.

About sixty people, including police, logistics staff from the A380 road trailer manufacturer and the Airbus security team accompanied the convoy on its journey.

Those teams accompanying the convoy are responsible for ensuring its smooth progress down the specially-designed route by keeping the road clear of any obstructions and providing the driver with guidance over and above his satellite-based navigation system. They also provide security for the A380 components during rest periods during the day.

Airbus has already secured 129 orders for the double-decker aircraft with 11 airlines, including Qantas, Lufthansa, Air France and Virgin Atlantic. The first A380 is due to enter service in 2006.

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