North East Wales

Airbus builds Beluga aeroplane wing shelter at Broughton

Artist's impression of the new Beluga Line Station Image copyright Airbus
Image caption The Beluga Line Station station will allow wings to be loaded in stronger wind conditions

Work on new aircraft loading bay to allow work to continue in strong winds is to start this month at the Airbus wing-making factory in Flintshire.

The Beluga Line Station aims to protect the wings built at the Broughton site as they are loaded on to cargo planes.

Currently, the main cargo door on the Beluga Super Transporter aeroplane cannot be opened in high winds.

The work, including building a new taxiway at Hawarden Airport, is expected to be finished early in 2015.

Five Beluga aircraft regularly deliver wings assembled at Broughton for the A320, A330 and A350 aeroplanes to the firm's sites in France and Germany.

Airbus said the station is needed to reduce the impact of winds on its transport schedule.

Image copyright Airbus
Image caption The Airbus Beluga transporter cannot open its cargo doors in strong winds

Stephen Fowles, head of buildings and construction for the UK, said the Broughton site is "often at the mercy of the weather" so staff will no longer need to wait for the wind to drop before loading can start.

He added that the firm was taking measures to ensure the work has minimal impact on nearby residents.

The firm said it had invested more than £1.9bn in the Broughton plant over the last 15 years.

Flintshire council approved planning permission for the loading hangar last year.

Image copyright Airbus
Image caption The Beluga is a purpose-built transporter aircraft based on the first ever Airbus model, the A300
Image copyright Airbus
Image caption The Beluga can carry four single-aisle A320-family wings, two A330 wings or one A350 wing

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