This week marked the last time all parts of an Airbus A380 took on the long journey from all over Europe to Toulouse.
The parts come from all over Europe. The tail fin and the rear section of the fuselage are made in Hamburg. The wings are built by workers in Broughton, UK, other parts come from Cadiz, Spain and Saint-Nazaire, France.
Before the components can be assembled to become an Airbus A380, they have to embark on a long journey. While the tail fin travels in the Airbus Beluga, the other components are transported to Pauillac on the Gironde by huge cargo ships. There they are divided into smaller ships and brought to Langon on the river Garonne.
Convoi of trucks
That part of the journey ends in the French city, and from there on the parts of the Airbus A380 are transported to Toulouse by huge heavy trucks. Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit is the name of the continuous chain of French national roads specially created for the superjumbo, which leads to the final assembly plant Jean-Luc Lagardère.
On Monday evening (24 February) the transporters set off for the last time with an entire A380 at Langon. In about 22 hours – and after several breaks during the night – they arrived in Toulouse early Thursday morning (27 February). The average speed was around 18 kilometres per hour, according to the newspaper La Dépêche.
Parts of the Beluga XL take the same road
Airbus announced a year ago that it would cease production of the A380. The last superjumbo will be delivered to Emirates in 2021. The company still has to finish building nine of them.
By then, 251 of the world’s largest passenger aircraft will have been built and transported via the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit. However, the road corridor will still be needed from time to time afterwards – for parts of the Airbus Beluga XL.