Work Begins on British Airways’ First A380
British Airways ordered 12 of the world’s largest passenger aircraft from Airbus, the mammoth Airbus A380, along with 24 of the composite, weight efficient, Boeing 787′s designed for long-haul’s as part of their fleet renewal. British Airways is currently on track to be the first airline in the world operating both types in their fleet.
Airbus has started work on the first British Airway’s first double-decker, Airbus A380, with delivery scheduled next year.
Keith Williams, British Airways’ Chief Executive said, “We’re really excited that work has started on building the first of our 12 Airbus A380s….They represent a significant part of a huge investment by British Airways, of £5bn over the next five years in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.
Williams continues, “Our teams across the airline have been working in partnership with Airbus to ensure that preparations are well underway for us to receive this pioneering and leading edge aircraft, so that it goes smoothly into service for British Airways for the first time next year.”
“Until then, we’ll continue working towards the successful delivery of both the A380 and B787, to ensure our customers have a fantastic flying experience on these amazing aircraft,” added Williams.
Building the A380
The Airbus A380 is built across facilities in Europe and delivered to Toulouse, France, for final assembly. First built is the forward and aft fuselage, which are assembled in Hamburg, Germany. The center piece of the fuselage is built in Saint Nazaire and Meaulte in France and the tailfin in Stade, France, while the horizontal portion of the tail is manufactured in Spain.
While the fuselage is being assembled, the undercarriage is built in Canada and France, while the wings in Broughton in Lancashire. To power the British Airways Airbus A380, the carrier selected Rolls-Royce engines, built in Derbyshire.
All of the parts are delivered to Toulouse, some via air using the A300-600 modified Beluga (as described in article per link). Final assembly takes place in Toulouse and from there is the delivery to the consumer.
With all new aircraft, the A380 has encountered a few hiccups. One particular problem, cracks in the ribbing of A380 wings, has been discovered, but the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) along with Airbus have released service directives to ensure proper inspection and repairs. Some media outlets, including labor unions upset with outsourced work, have blown this out of proportion for exposure, but at this point it’s being monitored and we don’t view it as a significant problem short of further information.
British Airways Work Behind The Scenes
Teams across British Airways are working together to ensure the smooth entry of both the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner into service later next year.
Employee groups from engineering, flight operations, cabin and flight crew, customer services, ground and airport operations, marketing, IT, strategy and planning are all involved in the process. Large investments require that British Airways is able to receive the aircraft and quickly move them into service.
Last year British Airways completed the latest phase of a multi-million GBP redevelopment of its Heathrow engineering base to prepare for the arrival of the new fleet of A380s, B787s and Boeing 777-300s.
This included a new 24 tonne roof ‘eyebrow’ which was lifted into place in one of the aircraft hangars, which raised the height of to accommodate the A380’s giant tailfin.