Production of the A380 is in full swing as the manufacturing pace for the worldâ€™s largest airliner approaches its initial rate of four aircraft per month.
The initial four A380s â€“ which will be used for ground-based evaluations and flight test â€“ have been built. Assembly of the fifth aircraft is beginning, and it is to be the first customer-delivered A380 when it is accepted by Singapore Airlines in 2006. Sections of the sixth are now arriving at the final assembly facility in Toulouse, France, with this aircraft also going to Singapore Airlines.
Located on the edge of Toulouseâ€™s Blagnac International Airport, the A380 Final Assembly Line is a massive new facility designed for the most efficient build-up possible for the 555-seat airliner. Using the same procedures as all of the other Airbus aircraft, sections of the A380 come to Toulouse pre-equipped from production locations around Europe.
The fuselage is manufactured in three major sections, which are joined together in the Final Assembly Building at Blagnac airport and are fitted with the wings, tail, landing gear and belly fairings. Build-up of an A380 will take approximately one week when the output reaches the four aircraft per month rate. The assembled aircraft is then moved to an adjacent hall where the engines are installed, and the installation of systems is completed.
Three weeks of intensive testing is carried out on the completed aircraft, which then is moved outside for checks on the cabin. This is followed by the A380â€™s handover to the Airbus flight test department, which performs the maiden flight.