Bridgestone Corporation and Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. announced today that they are joining the club of other Japanese manufacturers which have become partners on the A380 programme. They both have agreed to supply new technology equipment and advanced materials for the next-generation super jumbo programme. Moreover, ShinMaywa has been selected as preferred supplier for the A380 wing ramp surfaces.

Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard said, "We are honoured to welcome Bridgestone and Mitsubishi Rayon to the A380 programme. Their contribution will ensure we can provide the most advanced technology for the world’s most advanced airliner programme currently under development and launched in production. The second contract for ShinMaywa is a proof of the enthusiasm and confidence of our Japanese suppliers in the success of the A380."

These contracts will raise the estimated revenue of Japanese suppliers in the A380 programme to well over US $3.00 billion in the years to come. The addition of these two new participants brings to fifteen the total of Japanese companies collaborating in the A380. The contribution of each company is as follows:

Bridgestone Corporation is to supply new technology tyres for the A380 nose and main landing gear system. Tyre development is underway at Bridgestone’s Technical Centre in Kodaira (near Tokyo) and production will be completed at Bridgestone’s main plant in Kurume (Fukuoka Prefecture). The first production article is to be delivered to the A380 Final Assembly Line in Toulouse on the fourth quarter of 2005. This is the first Original Equipment Supplier (OEM) contract of Bridgestone with Airbus.

Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. has been selected as supplier of Advanced Composite Materials to be used in the production of parts for the A380. The pre-preg materials, intermediate module and high resistance carbon fibres, tape, fabrics and resins, which are to be produced at Mitsubishi Rayon’s Toyohashi plant (Aichi Prefecture), are currently under qualification at different Airbus plants. This is the first time for Mitsubishi Rayon to work with Airbus.

ShinMaywa will supply the composite ramp surfaces of the A380 wing. Production is to be completed at ShinMaywa's Konan plant in Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture) and delivery of the first set is scheduled for November 2003. This is the second A380 work package awarded to ShinMaywa. The first contract with Airbus, for the A380 root fillet fairing, was signed in 2002.

To date, ten customers have announced firm orders and commitments for a total of 103 A380s. The 555-seater A380 will enter into service in early 2006.

Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE SYSTEMS.