The end of the Airbus A380 production cycle is soon approaching. The superjumbo is expected to have its last delivery next year. However, its final set of wings are already making their way out of Airbus’ production site in Broughton.
The widebody was introduced in 2007 with Singapore Airlines. There was a huge buzz around its launch with its impressive size and power. The double-decker holds a capacity of around 555 seats. However, it is certified for up to 853 passengers.
Despite its capabilities, the aircraft will cease production only 13 years after it first took flight with a commercial airline. This is because orders for the A380 started to become less prevalent.
The cost of both the plane and the fuel to keep it running deterred many prospective operators. Therefore, last February, Airbus announced that the project will come to a close. Emirates is set to be the last customer of the jet, adding to its current holding of 115 A380s.
The aircraft’s production takes place across 16 sites. These wings have been constructed in the Welsh district of Broughton before being shipped to Toulouse, France. Broughton sits along Wales’ border with England, west of the city of Chester.
The Daily Post shared that the first of the last two wings left the site today. It was taken away on a barge on the River Dee. This was before it made its way to mainland Europe by boat.
The Dee River Craft (DRC) Afon Dyfrdwy has been carrying the wings out of the plant. This is likely the last time that the vessel will be put to use in the district. Harbourmaster Captain S Capes spoke of the important event.
“It is likely that this will be the final A380 wing shipment and possibly the last time the DRC will be seen on the river,” Capes said, as reported by The Daily Post.
End of an era
In 2003, Airbus opened the wing plant, primarily for the A380. It was one of the largest factories built in the United Kingdom for several years. Now, Airbus chiefs are discussing how to put the site to use over the period ahead.
Tomorrow morning, we will see the last wing of the iconic yet limited edition aircraft leave Wales to be part of one of the last A380s to be delivered. This will no doubt be an emotional occasion for staff at the site.
— Jed Ex (@TheJedex) February 6, 2020
Simple Flying reached out to Airbus for comment on the A380 wings. A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that the final wing of the set will leave Broughton by barge along the River Dee to the Port of Mostyn tomorrow, at 09:00.
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