The Final Set Of Airbus A380 Wings Will Be Made This Year

The very last wings of the Airbus A380 will roll out of the UK’s Broughton factory in the first half of this year. As the program inches towards cessation, employees at the giant factory await news of their fate. Airbus says it has not yet made a decision on Broughton, but hopes to redeploy existing workers on other product lines.

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The very last wings will be finished this year. Photo: Getty

The end is nigh

Like the approaching apocalypse, the end of the A380 production continues to creep towards us relentlessly. While Airbus has earmarked 2021 as the end of the line for the giant jumbo, it’s already making plans for what happens next.

Just last week, we heard how Airbus would repurpose its A380 assembly line in Toulouse to accommodate the A321. But that’s not the only place the A380 is made. In fact, construction of the A380 takes place across some 16 sites, from Puerto Real in Spain to Hamburg in Germany.

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Worldwide, some 3,000 jobs could be affected by the loss of the A380 program. Photo: Getty

Back when Airbus announced the end of the A380 program, it estimated some 3,000 to 3,500 jobs could be affected as a result of the shutdown. At least 200 of these are in the UK, reports the BBC, many at the site in Broughton where the giant wings of the A380 are made.

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The final wings

According to North Wales Live, the very last wings for the A380 will be built during the first half of 2020. With only ANA’s third A380 to be delivered (which clearly has its wings already) and another eight to go to Emirates, there are likely only a handful of wings left to be made.

When the final wings roll out, production in that part of the factory will end. With the news of the repurposing at Toulouse ringing in their ears, employees at Broughton have been hopeful that a similar solution would be found for them.

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North Wales Live asked as much of Airbus, and a spokesperson responded,

“Today’s A321 FAL announcement for Toulouse is not linked to, nor sets any precedent for the Broughton plant. We are still to define a future use for the West Factory, and are discussing options as part of the site strategy.”

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The site in Broughton makes every wing for every A380. Photo: Airbus

Although there will be no more A380 wings built in Broughton, the demand for both the A320 family of aircraft, the popular A350 line and the A330neos is incredibly strong. Airbus has a backlog of almost 7,500 aircraft, so it’s likely the manufacturer will be keen to make use of its facility at Broughton to bolster the supply of parts for its other aircraft.

The importance of Broughton

Broughton a historic facility, having been founded in 1939 as a shadow factory for the Vickers Wellington and the Avro Lancaster. When the war ended, De Haviland took over the space for production of the Comet and the Mosquito. Today, the site employs more than 6,500 people and produces wings for the entire Airbus family, apart from the Chinese A320s and the A400M.

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Airbus could move workers to other production lines. Photo: Airbus

When Airbus opened the A380 plant at Broughton, it was the largest factory to be built in the UK for a long time. Built at a cost of £350m, the plant is the size of 12 football pitches and, when production was at its peak, could accommodate some 1,200 employees.

When the cancellation of the program was announced, the BBC reports CEO Tom Enders as saying,

“It needs to be evaluated. It’s clear we make a lot of wings in Britain and a few wings for the A380. Hopefully, we can redeploy a significant number of our employees there and re-use also the infrastructure.”

Hopefully, that is precisely what they’ll do, and employees can find a new role making wings for other Airbus planes.

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Trent

An engineering marvel that never really fit in. Too bad.

Armand2REP

With a no deal Brexit there isn’t going to be much future for Airbus in the UK. They can’t afford the transit times being held up at customs. Boris lied about it because as soon as the bill was passed the EU issued maps showing new customs check points that will be erected when they leave the Single Market at the end of the year.

Adam

The A380 is a true verity

Adam

oop i didn't finish wtv

TonytTDK

Airbus have already said they WILL continue to make wings at Broughton……
What they did NOT say, was; ‘forever’.
AIrbus will evaluate what Brexit means to their business bottom-line & to their ‘just-in-time’ logistics model.
If they find that is no-longer economic for them to have their business in the UK, they WILL move…… It’s that simple.
They are a cash-rich business, which CAN afford the millions it will cost them to move, but they will only move if they deem it economically sensible to do so.
If they DO move, there is virtually no possibility that circumstances would ever warrant them investing similar amounts of money, in order for that business & the jobs involved to return to the UK.!

Ara380

The A380 is spectacular in such ways that the 747 could not compete against with. If the production of this massive plane is shut down, we won’t be able to transport huge amount of people and the jobs of many people would be at stake who have built this aircraft. It has only been 15 years since the first Airbus A380 took flight, and it has been 61 years since the 747 took flight. They could keep the A380 in production, but use minds of brilliance to lower the fuel cost, fuel efficiency and even make it useful again.