Britain plays a key role in the success of Airbus via the manufacturer's facilities in Broughton.
Situated in North Wales near Chester, the plant at Broughton is responsible for producing the wings for Airbus' entire portfolio of commercial aircraft. The facility share a 6,703 ft (2,043m) runway with Hawarden Airport, enabling the manufacturer's A300-600ST Super Transporters, known as Belugas, to move components to Airbus sites on the Europe continent.
The wings of A319, A320, A321, A330, A350 are moved from Broughton to the final assembly lines in Hamburg and Toulouse using a fleet of five Beluga Aircraft. The type can carry 4 pair of A320 family wings or 2 A330 wing or 1 A350 wing.
During my visit, I was lucky to witness the offloading and loading process completed within 90 minutes in the newly built hangar that can handle all weather situations regardless of wind.
Broughton's west factory is home to wing production for the largest member of Airbus' commercial portfolio, the A380. The 350 million pound facility was opened by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and today more than 800 people work around the clock on the manufacture, assembly and equipping process. The Airbus A380's wing measures almost 9,096 sq ft and consists of more than 25,000 different components. Each wing weighs 40 tonnes and is over 118 ft (36m) long. The wings are built vertically and moved around the site by transporters and jigs.
Because the A380's wing is so large, it cannot be transported by Beluga. It is instead transported by a special built Barge and taken to Mostyn, Northern Wales. From there it is shipped to Bordeaux and driven by road to Toulouse.
Special thanks to Airbus and Robert Gage, head of media relations of Airbus UK who the special guided tour and commentary.