The Airbus A 350: the most modern commercial aircraft in the world. It takes 1800 highly-skilled specialists in Toulouse, France, and 2.5 million individual parts, delivered from all over the world, to assemble this masterpiece of aeronautic engineering. The goal: An aircraft with minimal consumption and maximum range. 53 percent of the Aircraft consists of a modern ultra-light composite material.
But the innovative material also requires entirely new manufacturing processes. A challenge for the aircraft manufacturers in Toulouse. And the final assembly is preceded by a logistical masterpiece: The individual parts of the aircraft travel from various Airbus plants in Europe to Toulouse: the front and centre sections from Saint-Nazaire in France, the tail section from Hamburg, the wings from Broughton in Wales and Bremen, and the tail fin from Getafe in Spain. The factory in Toulouse is supplied with these parts by a specially developed transport aircraft, the Beluga.
Several times a day, five of these machines commute between the various plants and bring supplies for production seven days a week from early in the morning until midnight. And the journey of the components is not over in Toulouse.
By the time the A350 is fully assembled it will have passed through seven hangars or “stations.” Given the extremely high number of components that have to be assembled and the large number of different suppliers, there are a lot of risk factors involved in the production of the A350. And the pressure is high: The modern aircraft is extremely popular with airlines, with 890 pending orders to date. Ten aircraft of the A350 have to leave the factory every month no matter what.