The manufacture of Airbus' latest mid-sized freighter, which is based on the highly successful A330-200 long-range passenger jetliner, began early this year.
Parts for the first A330-200F are now taking shape across Airbus, and work on its systems also is progressing. Critical design reviews have already been passed on several systems and some test units are available.
The first metal pieces are now in production, with work on the aircraft's forward fuselage shells underway at Airbus' sites in Bremen, Varel and Nordenham. The Nantes site and all major structure risk-sharing partners also have started manufacturing for the centre section.
Additionally, some machined parts and panels for the aircraft's newly-designed nose section have already been produced in MÃ©aulte and by Mecachrome. To achieve a cabin floor optimised for cargo, the nose landing gear's attach point has been shifted from its position on the A330-200 passenger version, allowing the existing nose gear to be retained on the new freighter.
Some 12 per cent of the A330-200F's structure is made from composites including the empennage, empennage wing trailing edges, fairings and floor panels. The aircraft, which has 77 orders to date, has been designed to be highly versatile. It is capable of carrying 64 tonnes of cargo over 4,000 naut. mi./7,400 km. in the "range mode," or 69 tonnes up to 3,200 naut. mi./5,930 km. in the â€œpayload mode" configuration.
The A330-200F's versatile main-deck cargo concept means it can accommodate the long-term needs of both low-density express services and general cargo operators. It will also benefit from the strong reputation and operational reliability of the A330-200.