Finishing touches put to British Airways’ first A380

Finishing touches put to British Airways’ first A380

MSN95, British Airways’ first A380 double-decker superjumbo has emerged from the largest paint hangar in the world after being emblazoned with the airline’s famous red, white and blue livery.

Twenty-four painters at Airbus’ Hamburg hangar spent two weeks on eight movable platforms up to 30 metres from the ground applying five coats of red, white and blue gloss paint to the huge aircraft.

The work was conducted by hand using spray guns, traditional paint rollers and small paint brushes.

The specialists, who spent three years training to learn how to paint an A380, used 2,300 litres of paint to cover an area of 3,500 square metres.

Although the total weight of the five layers of paint covering the aircraft weighs around 650kg, the paint applied is no thicker than a human hair.

One of the most challenging aspects for the Airbus team was painting the 10,000 black and white dots on the tailfin of the aircraft.

Christoph Hettwer, senior manager Airbus A380 paintshop, said: “This was a difficult task - you can imagine someone had to peel off the thousands of little dots from a stencil - but now it’s finished it looks great”.

The A380 now has all of its cabins installed and will be flown to Airbus’ headquarters in Toulouse, where it will begin its final stage of checks before being handed over to British Airways in July.

Inspecting the aircraft, James Lewis, British Airways’ A380 build manager, said, “This is the most exciting project I’ve ever been involved in, and it’s been a privilege for me to watch this aircraft evolve.

The excitement at Airbus and British Airways is building as we get nearer to taking delivery of the A380 this summer. We can’t wait for our customers to experience our wonderful new aircraft.”