The parts for the very last Airbus A380 have been transported to Airbus’ final assembly line in Toulouse. The convoy, which passed through the small French village of Levignac late on Wednesday night, included the fuselage, wings and tail of the final complete A380 to arrive in Toulouse.
A good send-off
Hundreds of people crowded the streets of the tiny town of Levignac to see the very last A380 components making their way to the final assembly line. Airbus manufactures these parts in various facilities around Europe and the UK before bringing them all together in Toulouse to assemble the completed plane.
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) February 26, 2020
The excitement is building in Levignac as hundreds of people await the final passage of an A380 fuselage through the tiny village. pic.twitter.com/7EXkUW6qx0
— Sally Duval (@SallyDuval) February 26, 2020
Many of these parts were well-traveled by the time they arrived in France. The front and middle fuselage sections were built in Saint-Nazaire in France itself, but the aft fuselage was made in Germany. The tail was made in Cadiz, Spain and the wings were constructed in the UK facility at Broughton.
The very last pair of @Airbus #A380 wings in the #Gers ready for convoy to the Final Assembly Line. So worth the trip in the rain to witness #aviationhistory. There's a part of my work history there too. pic.twitter.com/c4kussMEzV
— ToulouseWalkingTours (@TlsWalksPenny) February 26, 2020
The last pair of A380 wings : pic.twitter.com/7IusUFXyRu
— Aviation Toulouse (@Frenchpainter) February 27, 2020
The end of the A380 marks a sad moment for Broughton, which has built every single wing for every single A380 over the past fifteen years. The very last wing bore the inscription,
“The final A380 wing. We made it fly.”
— Javier Irastorza (@javierirastorza) February 27, 2020
Airbus announced the end of the A380 program on Valentine’s Day last year. Now, with just nine
Delivering a giant
The huge size of the A380 means even getting the parts to Toulouse is a mission in itself. As such, the French Ministere de la Transition ecologique et solidaire runs a website made specifically for the A380 transportation called the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit. Roughly translated this means the ‘itinerary for large sizes’.
The itinerary contains numerous specialist services, including barges and massive trucks specially designed for large loads. The route ensures roads are wide enough and bridges are tall enough to accommodate the huge components, and even notifies shippers of suitable places to park and sleep.
Altogether the trip takes multiple days and nights before it reaches Toulouse.
Since its first delivery to Singapore Airlines in 2007, 242 Airbus A380s have been built and delivered by Airbus. Only a handful remain to be completed. Sadly, some of the early A380s are already being retired, and the very first has already been scrapped, with parts of the fuselage turned into keyrings for avgeeks’ collections.
This was the last complete A380 to arrive by convoy at Toulouse. However, BFM TV reports that one more convoy will take place in April. However, this one will only include around three-quarters of an A380 as well as parts of the Beluga XL. The April delivery will be the final parts for MSN 272, the last A380 to roll off the production line which will be delivered to Emirates later in the year.