New Airbus wings loading bay will speed up delivery


David Humphreys

CONSTRUCTION work is to begin on a new loading bay at the Flintshire base of Airbus.

The aerospace giant is installing the new bay at its Broughton site this month for its Beluga Super Transporter aircraft.

The new Beluga Line Station is expected to reduce weather-related delays to load the aircraft.

Currently, the main door for the vast 1,400m sq main cargo deck on the Beluga cannot be open in winds exceeding 30 knots (35mph) so the new ‘line station’ is being built to reduce the impact of strong winds on the transport schedule.

The start of construction follows extensive infrastructure works at Broughton, including re-routing of roads on the site, building a new taxiway and preparing foundations and a base for the building.

Stephen Fowles, head of buildings and construction for Airbus UK said: “We’re often at the mercy of the weather so this new building will provide a sheltered loading bay which will mean we won’t always need to wait for the wind to drop before we can open the Beluga’s main door.

“It should reduce weather-related impact on the schedules.

“The vast majority of work will take place during the daytime, although some has to take place at night when the runway is not in use. While the site is well within the plant perimeter, we will be taking measures to ensure all work has minimal impact on nearby residents. We’ve been in contact with residents in the immediate vicinity and we’ve also contacted community leaders about the work.” Manchester-based company John Sisk & Sons has been appointed as principal contractor for the work.

Five Beluga aircraft form the backbone of the Airbus transport operation and deliver the wings assembled at Broughton for the A320, A330 and A350 families to the final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg, as well as ferrying components between Broughton and Airbus sites at Nantes and Saint-Nazaire in France, Hamburg and Bremen in Germany and Getafe in Spain.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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