The area available for passengers on an Airbus-380 is as three tennis courts, 550 square meters. Three floors (two to accommodate up to 853 people and one load), 220 windows, and 845 square feet of wing (54% larger than the Boeing Jumbo)… So yes, the assembly plant Airliner more Big world is huge. Four of these giants of the air are in various stages of Assembly, each one with the tail already painted with the colors of the company which is destined, so the customer to easily see how ahead of your appliance. And in the huge workshop queen a surprising silence workers, tiny compared with their products, they are mounting pieces (four million components carry an A380) arriving at the facility in Toulouse (south of France) from hundreds of companies 30 countries, and already reassembled in sections (fuselage split into three pieces, wings, tail, engines …).
‘In the sixties, the planes were at 60% occupancy and almost certainly wore an empty seat next to you; in 2010 was already 78% of average, peak flights you are always full. Air traffic is doubling every 15 years since the seventies”, explains Alan Pardoe, Airbus head of communications. Is it enough to fill the huge A380? Over 55 million passengers have flown in the large commercial aircraft of two full floors (there are 128 in service), takes off or lands one of them in the world every five minutes and no orders for the next 324 years, answer Pardoe. The new A350 XWB aircraft medium sized long journey that will begin delivering in the second half of this year, the company already has 824 orders will come from the new final assembly line in Toulouse, covered in solar panels that provide more than 50% of the electricity consumed by the plant. Family A-320, popular regional aircraft and continental scope, the European company has final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and another under construction in the USA.
The new aircraft, under their emphasis engineers, and taking for guaranteed security effort, are dominated by the race to reduce fuel consumption, an essential component of lower cost requiring all operators. In addition, says Yann Barbaux, head of innovation of Airbus, ‘the entry of low-cost carriers is a novelty, with their quest for maximum possible benefit, which are, as customers, very different from the big traditional airlines’, explains during the visit, at the invitation of Airbus. An A380 consumes 2.9 liters per passenger per hundred kilometers (less than a small car), Airbus emphasizes. As for emissions, for example, reducing the consumption of the new A-320 NEO is 15%, which represents a saving of 3600 tonnes of CO2 annually per aircraft.
The engines now support up to 50% biofuel blended with traditional kerosene and work perfectly. And the savings comes to details that may seem insignificant until you consider the number of aircraft operating in the world … ‘A system that tells the pilot before landing, where they are located at the airport exit routes of track allow the aircraft to be withdrawn before the decision to go to the terminal, not to the end of the runway and then return, thereby saving fuel”, says Pardoe, setting an example of how new information technologies, communications and planning can contribute effectively to the system. And Operator everything counts, from airplane cockpits unified within the same brand, which prevents the assignment must specially trained pilots for each model, to the extent of the aisle in the cabin, which reduces the time of loading and unloading of the passage. At the end of the day, a plane in flight makes money, not when you are at the airport.
Aircraft that require a little shorter for takeoff and landing runways, reducing overall weight, less binding and easier and shorter reviews … everything contributes to factor in making the aircraft more competitive for the customer. Passenger comfort is also important because it can affect the choice of a company or another. Thus, the largest commercial aircraft in the world claims to be is also the quietest. Internet in-flight use of mobile and high-tech entertainment elements is required in new aircraft, regardless of manufacturer.
Over 70% of the A350 structure is made with materials like carbon fiber composites (53%), titanium and advanced alloys. The skin of the aircraft, the fuselage within which we travel and we think it should be thick and sturdy to protect flying over 10 miles high, carbon fiber is only seven millimeters thick, explains engineer Eduardo Galicia -Rocker. ‘This material greatly facilitates maintenance, compared to aluminum, because it does not suffer fatigue or corrosion materials’.
About 15,000 people work in Toulouse in multiple plants and offices of Airbus, near the city’s airport. And constantly Beluga cargo aircraft, an A-300 specially modified and shaped like a whale with wings, which brings the various European factories aircraft components arrive. Then the A380 came. So great is its body chopped to fit on the huge Airbus Beluga and had to arrange transportation by boat, canal and road to the assembly hangar in Toulouse. In the last 200 kilometers renovated highways that pass through some villages that can transit convoys with aircraft segments, explains Roquero-Galicia.
Airbus invests annually around 2000 million euros in research and development and has some 500 patents, the company claims. Above all, it wants to avoid the error of calculation which it committed, 40 years ago, and the aeronautical sector to ignore the capacity of the old continent to become a power in aviation. Now Boeing and Airbus global commercial aircraft market over a hundred passengers are dealt. Thus European giant is very aware of the progress of China, but also countries like Brazil and Canada, although with smaller planes latter.