The new A380 Major Component Assembly (MCA) hall was officially opened today in the presence of the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the Airbus site in Hamburg. The ceremony, hosted by Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard, was also attended by Ole von Beust, First Major of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Parliamentary State Secretary Dr. Ditmar Staffelt, Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, and numerous guests.

"As a European company Airbus is privileged and honoured by the presence of Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, who is one of the main drivers of the European integration, from which we benefit so much," said Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard. "The hand-over of the Hamburg major component assembly hall is a key milestone in the making of the A380, in the history of our company and in the long-lasting relationship between Airbus and Germany."

The new MCA hangar is 228 metres long, 120 metres wide and features a height of about 23 metres. It will house the structural assembly and the fitting with equipment of the forward fuselage sections and the complete rear fuselage sections for the Airbus A380, which will introduce a new way of flying when it enters into service in 2006. For the production of the A380 state-of-the-art manufacturing methods have been developed, which will allow Airbus to further enhance its unmatched production efficiency and flexibility.

To date, 103 firm orders and commitments from ten customers have been received for the A380, which is the largest member of Airbus most modern aircraft family. Its maiden flight is due to take place in 2005. The A380 is designed to carry 555 passengers and has a range of 14,800 kilometres.

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.