The A350 XWB centre wing box, made from 40% CFRP, measures 6.5 m by 5.5 m and is 3.9 m tall.
The A350 XWB centre wing box, made from 40% CFRP, measures 6.5 m by 5.5 m and is 3.9 m tall.

The centre wing box for the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft measures 6.5 m by 5.5 m and is 3.9 m tall.

Loaded on to a special transport jig, the centre wing box left Airbus' site in Nantes, France, by river barge, together with an A380 centre wing box, travelling along the Loire River to reach St Nazaire a few hours later. Once the part is installed in the A350 XWB fuselage, the sub-assembly will be flown by Beluga from St Nazaire to Airbus’ new A350 XWB final assembly line in Toulouse, France.

The first composite lay-up for the A350 XWB took place in Nantes in December 2009. The biggest panels produced for the centre wing box, entirely made of carbon fibre, have a surface area of 36 m2, which Airbus says makes them the largest 'monobloc' composite panels ever manufactured in Nantes.

The A350 XWB structure is 53% composite-based, including major elements such as wings and fuselage.The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in 2013.

The delivery of the centre wing box marks a significant step forwards for the A350 XWB programme as it gets closer to the start of final assembly of the first aircraft, notes comments Didier Evrard, Head of the A350 XWB programme.

“The delivery of the first A350 XWB centre wing box is the result of the team’s sheer hard work, expertise in the design and manufacturing of complex, large composite structures and their strong commitment to deliver to our customers on time and on quality," he says.