Airbus begins production of A380 super jumbo


European aircraft maker Airbus has begun production of its giant Airbus A380 super Jumbo in Bremen, Germany, the company said in a statement.

It said work started in mid-March on the fuselage of the first model that will come off the production line.

The work follows the traditional 'first metal cut' in Airbus' Nantes site in France earlier this year. At Bremen, two formed sheet metal parts were completed for later integration into the section of the wings.

The first A380 will be one of several test aircraft and will be jammed with equipment rather than the luxury seats and reception areas that will mark later production.

To date, the super jumbo has won 97 firm orders and commitments, including those from Emirates and Qatar Airways and the aircraft is due to enter service in 2007.

Bremen is the second largest Airbus site in Germany after Hamburg and as well as housing one of the Airbus' five main design offices, it focuses on widebody wing equipping and the manufacture of high-lift components and sheet metal parts.

Each year, roughly 2.5 million metal parts for all Airbus models are produced in Bremen.

In October next year, A380 components for from all Airbus plants all over Europe will be transported to Toulouse, where final assembly of the first A380 will take place.

Meanwhile, Airbus will soon begin to offer airlines permanent solutions for increased cockpit security, building on the short-term fixes that it made available soon after the terrorist attacks in September last year.

The permanent solutions comprise four main elements - locked and reinforced cockpit doors, better communications between cockpit and cabin crew, video displays in the cockpit and enhanced communications between aircraft and ground controllers.