Today Airbus celebrated the topping-out of the new A350 XWB fuselage assembly hangar. In the presence of Hamburg's Senator for Economics and Labour Affairs, Axel Gedaschko, the topping-out wreath decorated with carbon fibres was mounted to the roof edge at a height of 27 metres.
From spring 2011 the aft fuselage sections will be assembled from CFRP shells with a length of up to 17 metres and equipped with all of the flight-relevant systems in the A350 XWB assembly hangar, which offers a production area of about 15,000 square metres. The forward fuselage sections will be delivered completely assembled to Hamburg for installation of all systems. The A350 XWB will have the largest composite fuselage worldwide, measuring 5.96 metres in diameter.
For the first time ever, the fuselage will be equipped using large pre-assemblies. The ceiling module, for instance, will be pre-assembled outside the fuselage, i.e. it is first equipped with air ducts, supply lines and attachment elements for the overhead stowage compartments before it is installed as a whole in the fuselage. In this way the time needed for equipment installation can be reduced by up to 20 percent.
"The A350 XWB's CFRP fuselage that we are developing and manufacturing here in Hamburg will be a key technology for aircraft of the 21st century. Therefore, we are very proud of building the most modern production facilities for the world's most efficient long-range aircraft," said Gerald Weber, Head of Operations Airbus.
Increased use of composite materials combined with the latest in aerodynamics and advanced technologies make the A350 XWB the most efficient aircraft in its class, delivering a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn compared to current aircraft in the same size category. The wider and more spacious cabin with its panoramic windows will offer unprecedented levels of comfort to passengers on long-haul flights.
The German aviation industry has a significant share in the development and production of the A350 XWB. More than 30 design and production companies are involved in the A350 XWB programme. For example, the entire fuselage and the cabin are developed at the Airbus Hamburg plant, which also assembles and equips the fuselage sections. The Stade plant manufactures the vertical tailplane and large wing components. And Airbus in Bremen not only develops the high-lift systems, which significantly contribute to the excellent flight performance, but also equips the wings with all flight-relevant systems. The cabin management system is produced at the Airbus site in Buxtehude.
The A350 XWB is a new family of widebody airliners and is available in three passenger versions. The A350-800 will fly 270 passengers in a three-class configuration up to 8,300 nm/15,400 km. The 314-seat A350-900 and the 350-seat A350-1000 will offer similar long-range performance.
The A350 XWB airframe will have 53 percent composite materials, lightening the weight and thereby maximising fuel economy.
The order book for the A350 XWB now stands at 530 aircraft. Final assembly of the first aircraft is anticipated in 2011, with the first delivery (of an A350-900) scheduled for 2013.
Notes to the editors:
- The floor space of the new hangar is about 7,700 m². Dimensions: 64 m x 120 m. The entire A350 XWB production area is about 15,000 m².
- Completion of the hangar is expected for autumn 2010. Then the jigs, tools and machinery will be set up. Start of production: spring 2011.
- Airbus invests over €150 million in the A350 XWB hangar (including jigs, tools and machinery) in Hamburg.
- 6,000 Airbus engineers are currently involved in the development of the A350 XWB. All in all, 13,000 employees will work on the A350 XWB when production gets into full swing.
- Delivery of the first A350 XWB is scheduled for mid-2013.