MIAMI — Airbus has completed the extension of its Roger Béteille Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, ahead to the production startup of its A350-1000. The extension comprises three additional assembly stations that will help the airframer to ramp up the production and reach the proposed goal of at least 50 A350s built in 2016.
The Toulouse FAL is able to produce both the A350-900 and its stretched -1000 variant in the same streamlined assembly process. This allows teams to work in parallel—reducing assembly times—and at the same time providing enough flexibility to the company to adapt the production, keeping optimal operational costs.
The additional stations include a new “Station 50,” wherein the three sections of the fuselage are mated as these arrive from external production sites. This station is also where the nose landing gear, the front crew rest area and the rear galley are installed.
Airbus has also incorporated a fourth “Station 40” in this production line, where the wing mating, and the installation of the empennage, main landing gear and engine pylons take place.
Finally, Station 30 is focused on the initial ground testing of the aircraft systems. Once the aircraft is completed, it is moved out of the FAL to undergo complementary tests. Final operations in the assembly process include the installation of the engines and passenger cabin fittings, painting, engines run-up and flight testing prior to customer acceptance and delivery.
In early February, this FAL received the first A350-1000 fuselage sections, starting its final assembly last February 9. According to Airbus, the first A350-1000, one of three flight test aircraft to be built, will take to the skies for its maiden sortie before the end of the year, with deliveries expected to take place in mid-2017.