The first A350 XWB wing lower cover (WLC) has been transported from Airbus’ composites manufacturing site in Illescas, Spain, to Airbus’ wing assembly site in Broughton, United Kingdom, where it will be installed on to the wing of the first A350 XWB to fly, MSN001. The wing lower cover was recently produced at Airbus’ Centre of Excellence for composite materials in Illescas, Spain; the part measures approximately 32 metres long by six metres wide, making it the biggest carbon fibre part ever produced in civil aviation.
“This is a major milestone for the A350 XWB programme and for Airbus in Spain”, said Rafael González-Ripoll, Head of Airbus’ Centre of Excellence Empennage & Aft -fuselage, “The delivery of the first flying A350 XWB wing lower cover pays tribute to the tremendous achievements made by a highly qualified, technical team. We have again demonstrated our expertise in designing, industrialising and manufacturing primary structures in carbon fibre with the A350 XWB, building on past experiences with other Airbus programmes.”
The wing cover will be fitted into the A350 XWB wing in Broughton and afterwards will be transported to Bremen (Germany) where the movable parts will be fitted. Later on, the sub-assembly will go to A350 XWB Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, where it will be joined to the fuselage.
The A350 XWB Family consists of three passenger versions with true long-range capability. In terms of capacity, the A350-800 will offer 270 seats; the A350-900 holds 314 seats while the A350-1000 will have 350 seats respectively. The Family concept allows airlines to best match their A350 XWB fleets to route capacity demands, guaranteeing optimum revenue potential. To date, 35 customers have ordered 567 A350 XWBs. Airbus forecasts a demand over the next 20 years for around 5,800 new twin-aisle mid-size passenger aircraft.
Notes to editor: About the Illescas (Spain) factory
The Airbus factory in Illescas, Spain, specializes in the automation of production processes of large airborne surfaces and fuselage sections, manufactured with advanced composites.
The Illescas factory also manufactures the skin of the rear section of the A350 XWB fuselage. This part is a barrel section in one piece only made of advanced composites; as well as the tail planes, elevators and rudders for all Airbus models and fuselage sections and door components for the landing gear of the A380 model.