Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/05/07/airbus_assembly_plant/

Airbus behemoth faces the press

French inaugurate A380 assembly facility

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 7th May 2004 14:12 GMT

This afternoon sees the inauguration of the Airbus 380 assembly plant in Toulouse, France, attended by no less than French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and 3000 staff and luminaries.

The A380

This is a big moment for a big aircraft: the A380 is a 73m (239ft) long double-decker monster designed to carry 555 passengers over 15,000km (8,000nm). The "envirnomentally-friendly" plane (less noise and fewer emissions than today's jumbos, the company boasts) will enter service in 2006 with Singapore airlines, and Airbus already has 129 orders on its books with whole terminus of major players - Air France, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic Airways included.

Naturally, a giant of the skies needs a production facility to match. Components for the A380 are built at various European locations, then flown to Toulouse to be bolted together. According to Airbus: "The assembly building is one of the largest in the world, measuring 490m by 250 m, with a height of 46 m. It is the largest of several buildings on the site which, together, incorporate more than 32,000 tonnes of steel - the equivalent of four Eiffel towers or the Millau viaduct - plus 250,000 cubic metres of concrete."

For those enthusiasts who cannot wait until 2006 to train their binoculars on the 560-tonne leviathan, here are a few tasty specs to be going on with:

More technical info is available here. ®

Bootnote

We are reliably informed that the A380 wings are too large to be transported by air and are therefore shifted by road, river and sea from the UK. Thanks to Richard Dudley for the correction.

Related stories

Wright Brothers' centenary provokes aviation speculationfest