Airbus is further increasing its industrial cooperation with Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, for the A380, the largest aircraft in the airline commercial aviation history. Alenia Aeronautica will start new activities for the aircraft’s cargo version (A380 Freighter), in addition to the production of the double-deck central fuselage for which Alenia is already responsible for the passenger version. The agreement will allow Alenia Aeronautica to improve its own contribution in terms of advanced technologies and to further develop its relation with Airbus. Alenia Aeronautica is already involved in all Airbus programmes (A300-310, A320 Family, A330-340 and A380).

For the A380 Freighter, Alenia Aeronautica will specifically be in charge of the development and production of both composite barrier walls which separate the crew area from the cargo area, and of floors’ grids made of advanced metal alloy.

In terms of workforce, this new agreement will require, within the next 15 years, a workforce of as much as 120 employees, including engineers, technicians and workers of Alenia Aeronautica’s plants in the South of Italy and of the various small and medium-sized Italian suppliers.

Alenia Aeronautica’s industrial collaboration in the A380 had already been increased by Airbus, when the Italian company was recently assigned further responsibilities for the passenger-version, i.e the doors’ slide raft bulkheads and the advanced air conditioning ducting made out of composite material.

Alenia Aeronautica participates in the A380 programme since 2001 with a share of more than 4% of the aircraft’s cell production. Today, Alenia Aeronautica has already delivered 12 series of components for the A380 double-deck fuselage. The activities of Alenia Aeronautica will continue up to 2020 and amount to an investment of around € 3 billion, covering the complete A380 family including derivatives. This, at full production, will mean an employment of approximately 1.200/1.300 employees on a yearly basis, including sub-suppliers. Alenia Aeronautica’s plant in Pomigliano d’Arco (Naples) is involved in the design and shares the industrialisation activities with the Nola plant (equally in Naples). The Nola plant is also responsible for the production phase (together with Casoria in Naples, and the Foggia plants in the region of Puglia), as well as for the assembly phase.

Taking into account the full Airbus investment in Italy, with a forecasted 274 million US$ turnover and some 2500 people directly involved Airbus programmes in 2008, Italy will be Airbus’ largest industrial partner in Europe.

Designed in close collaboration with major airlines, airports and airworthiness authorities, the A380 is the most advanced, spacious and efficient airliner ever conceived. When it enters service in 2006, the A380 will set a completely new standard in air travel. While offering all the advantages of a completely new design, it will also extend the unique benefits of Airbus family commonality to the very large aircraft sector. To date, thirteen customers have announced firm orders and commitments for a total of 139 aircraft, including 17 freighters.