Singapore Technologies Marine is building two freighters for Airbus to transport the largest componentsof the A380 super-large airliner by sea from its plants inthe UK, Germany and Spain to the final assembly plantin Toulouse, France. The ships–each more than 413 feet long–will be operated for the European airframer by French maritime company Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA). An LDA spokesman said the contract for the ships, to be built in Singapore, is worth about €60 million ($72 million).
The two ships are earmarked for delivery in 2008 and will join Airbus’ Chinese-built Ville de Bordeaux, which since June 2004 has collected the A380’s wings from Broughton in North Wales; the fore and aft sections of the fuselage from Hamburg, Germany; the tail section from Cadiz, Spain; and the cockpit and central fuselage from Saint Nazaire, western France. The giant components are transported to Pauillac, a port near Bordeaux in southwest France from where they continue along the Gironde River on specially designed barges. Six-truck road convoys then take them to Airbus’ plant at Blagnac, near Toulouse for final assembly.