On Monday, Airbus started assembly work on the first A380 fuselage section in Hamburg. This will take place in the Major Component Assembly (MCA) hall, which has been specially built for this purpose and was inaugurated on 21 May in the presence of the Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. By the end of September 2003, a first fuselage component is due to be delivered from Hamburg to the Airbus plant at St. Nazaire. This will be required for assembly of the centre fuselage section. The first fully equipped fuselage section from Hamburg will be delivered at the beginning of next year.

Gerhard Puttfarcken, General Manager of Airbus in Germany, said: "The major component assembly that has just begun marks the start of A380 production at the Hamburg site. We have long awaited this day and are delighted that we at Germany's largest Airbus plant can now start on A380 assembly. Overall, we are currently well on schedule and will be able to complete our highly demanding components for this 21st century flagship on time."

In mid-August, assembly of the first passenger floor for the main deck of the A380 took place in the new MCA hall, which is 228 m long, 120 m wide and 23 m high. The individual parts for this were manufactured at the EADS plant in Augsburg and at Sogerma in France. A further component delivered to Hamburg in the course of this month was the pressure bulkhead for the rear fuselage of the A380. This pressure bulkhead, which has a cross section of 6.5 m and was produced from carbon-fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) at the Airbus plant in Stade, forms the pressure-tight termination of the rear fuselage section of the A380. In addition, last week the first seven fuselage shells for the new superjumbo were completed at the Airbus plant in Nordenham and transported via the Weser, North Sea and Elbe to Hamburg.

The first flight of the A380 is planned for early 2005. First delivery of this new widebody aircraft will be to Singapore Airlines in 2006. To date, 129 firm orders and commitments have been received from eleven customers around the world for this aircraft.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.