The A380 entered production on schedule today at Airbus' Nantes site in France. The A380 will enter into service in the spring of 2006.

The traditional "first metal cut" from the machining of an aluminum triform (wing-to-fuselage junction) was accompanied today by the production of the first carbon fibre component for the centre wing box. The A380's centre wing box measures 7 metres by 6 metres by 2 metres (23 feet by 20 feet by 7 feet) and weighs 12 tonnes (26,500 lbs). The use of composite materials for the manufacture of this part is just one of the many innovative features of this new aircraft. Specialised in the field of structural composites, Airbus' Nantes plant achieved a world premiere with the A340-600, which features the longest carbon fibre keel beam ever built for a civil airliner.

In October 2003, all the A380 parts manufactured at various Airbus sites around Europe will be transported by land and sea to Toulouse for final assembly.

With 97 firm orders and commitments, the A380 has achieved a resounding success on the market in just one year since its launch.

Based in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the U.K. and Spain, as well as fully-owned subsidiaries in the United States, China and Japan. Airbus is a joint EADS Company with BAE SYSTEMS.