The A330-200F programme marked an important milestone with this week's delivery of the first major fuselage section for Airbus' new mid-size freighter.
Assembled at the Airbus facility in Hamburg, Germany, this 11.6 metre-long forward fuselage section includes the A330-200F's large main-deck cargo door - which will enable the jetliner to carry cargo containers and freight pallets in a single row or in side-by-side arrangements, according to operators' needs.
The main deck cargo door is 141 inches wide and 101 inches high (3.58 X 2.57 metres), and is a new feature for the A330 family. This same-sized door has been used on Airbus A300 and A310 cargo aircraft.
Delivery of the A330-200F's forward fuselage section was performed by one of the Airbus Beluga airlifters, which transported the airframe component from Hamburg to St. Nazaire, France for assembly of the cockpit. The completed section will then move to Toulouse, France, where final assembly of the no. 1 A330-200F will begin in the summer, followed by the aircraft's maiden flight later this year.
JÃ¼rgen Karow, the head of Airbus' Long-range Programme Centre of Excellence for fuselage and cabin, said targets have been met for the new freighter's quality, production timing and weight - achievements that are the result of cooperative efforts involving the Airbus design office and manufacturing department, as well as the associated suppliers.
The A330-200F will provide operators with a new-generation freighter derived from the proven A330 jetliner family, which offers highly efficient operation while generating less noise and emissions than the ageing fleets of mid-sized cargo aircraft currently in service worldwide.