First Parts of Airbus A350F Begin Construction

First Parts of Airbus A350F Begin Construction

DALLAS – Production of Airbus’ newest freighter, the A350F, is well underway, with the European manufacturer announcing that the first parts for the Centre Wing Box (CWB) have been cut.

The parts are being produced by Airbus Atlantic. The new company was created in January 2022 when STELIA Aerospace and the Airbus factories at Nantes and Montoir-de-Bretagne were amalgamated. 

Airbus Atlantic already produces the CWB for the passenger variant of the A350. However, the freighter variant will have reinforced floor beams that can support the heaviest cargo loads. 

Photo of first machined A350F External Foot Frames. Photo: Airbus.

Design Changes

According to Airbus, several design changes will therefore be required, which will ‘affect the internal CWB composite struts and the metallic (aluminium-lithium) structure on top of the upper composite CWB cover which supports the floor.’ The CWB for the freighter will measure 6.5m long by 5.5m wide by 3.9 metres tall.

Fifteen out of the 38 working stations at the Nantes facility have been adapted to allow the construction of CWBs for all A350 variants: Freighter, -900 and -1000.

Once completed, the parts will be transported by road to Airbus Atlantic’s factory at Montoir-de-Bretagne. Here it will be installed into the prototype’s centre fuselage before being transported by Airbus’ Beluga to the A350 Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse.

Etihad is one of the A350Fs customers. Photo: Airbus.

About the A350F

Airbus launched the A350F in July 2021, and is expected to enter service in 2025. The plane maker claims that the type will be able to ‘carry a payload of up to 109 tonnes over a range of 4,700nm.’

At the time of writing, the A350F had received 35 orders from various leasing companies and cargo operators, including Air Lease Corporation, Air France and Etihad Airways.

Featured Image: Airbus.

European Deputy Editor
Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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