Today, Thursday 27th May, the official ceremony presenting the Horizontal Tail Plane for the world’s largest and most technologically advanced aircraft, the A380, has taken place at the Airbus plant in Puerto Real (Cadiz).

In the presence of the President of the Regional Government of Andalusia, Manuel Chaves González, the Horizontal Tail Plane, manufactured by Airbus España, initiated its journey to the Bajo de las Cabezuelas dock in the Port of Cadiz for maritime transport to Bordeaux in France. Once there, it will become part of a spectacular convoy that will cross France by river and road to Toulouse.

The dimensions of the Horizontal Tail Plane are in keeping with the aircraft to which it will be fitted, with a span of more than 30 metres and a width of almost 16 metres when fully equipped. With a surface area of 204 square metres, it is more than twice the size of any other horizontal stabiliser manufactured for the rest of the Airbus aircraft family.

With the exception of the central coupling section and certain fittings, this element has been designed and constructed in carbon fibre, using the most advanced technologies, an area in which Airbus España is the world leader.

Each of the parts of this element has been designed at the Engineering facilities in Villaverde (Madrid), manufactured at the composite materials excellence centre in Illescas (Toledo) and initially assembled at the Getafe plant (Madrid). On completion of this initial phase of assembly, and in view of their enormous size, the parts are sent to Puerto Real for final assembly, the installation of the hydraulic and electrical systems and flight controls and for final testing.

Companies from several Autonomous Communities have participated as industrial partners, providing their own resources and maintaining direct contacts with Airbus. These companies have included Internacional de Composites (ICSA), that has undertaken responsibility for the leading and trailing edges and wing box union; Ariex Complex, in charge of manufacturing the elevator; Mecanizados Aeronáuticos (MASA), responsible for manufacturing the metallic parts of the boxes; ITD, responsible for systems; and Composystem, in charge of the fuselage union fairings.

Airbus is a joint EADS and BAE Systems company.