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The A380 freighter became a reality when the first ‘metal cut’ of the aircraft’s centre wing box took place today at Airbus’ site in Nantes, France.
The centre wing box is an important element of the A380F’s central fuselage to which the wings are attached and principally constructed from carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), to withstand high levels of stress. The CFRP centre wing box is one of a range of composite features that Airbus has incorporated into A380 Family aircraft giving them improved reliability and economic advantages over older-generation large aircraft.
It has been designed in close collaboration with major airlines and so will be the perfect tool to respond to the developments in the air freight sector. This market is predicted to see significant annual growth over the next 20 years, but with pressure on yields and cargo densities declining, the cargo industry will be demanding lower unit costs and higher volumes, particularly on long haul routes to and from Asia.
With 27 firm orders and commitments from four customers more than three years before its entry into service in mid-2008, the A380F has made a remarkable entrance in the long-haul, high-capacity cargo market.
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