Eurocopter delivers the first Airbus A350 XWB jetliner passenger door, highlighting its innovative capabilities in composite technology
This month’s delivery of Eurocopter’s initial A350 XWB jetliner passenger door produced at its Donauwörth, Germany facility represents a further milestone in a program that underscores synergies between helicopter production and the construction of carbon fiber aircraft components.
Donauwörth, 23 May 2012
In a ceremony in Donauwörth’s C4 production building, Dr. Wolfgang Schoder, Eurocopter Executive Vice President - Programs, and Dr. Michael Rehmet, Vice President - Airplane Door Systems, marked this delivery milestone with Didier Evrard, Airbus Executive Vice President and A350 Program Head.
As prime contractor and system supplier, Eurocopter is providing a full set of door systems that will equip this latest widebody member of Airbus’ jetliner family. “The development and manufacture of aircraft components is another mainstay of Eurocopter’s activities in Germany, which complements our helicopter production,” Schoder explained. “The A350 XWB’s door systems demonstrate our innovative strength and international competitiveness in the field of carbon fiber technology.” The A350 XWB passenger doors are the first for a commercial aircraft to be made entirely of carbon fiber reinforced plastic – an ideal material for modern aircraft construction, which is characterized by its combination of lightness and rigidity, as well as its outstanding fatigue properties and corrosion resistance.
Benefits of Eurocopter’s technical innovation in the A350 XWB aircraft doors include a reduction in parts, the application of advanced mechanical systems and equipment that are easier to maintain, and additional safety features. Series production is handled at the company’s Donauwörth site in a new building designed to meet the exacting requirements of automated production methods and quality control at high production rates.
“Assembly of the A350 XWB is progressing well and all the teams and suppliers, like Eurocopter, are strongly focused on working together to deliver a best-in-class aircraft at entry into service,” said Didier Evrard, Executive Vice President – Head of A350 XWB Programme, Airbus. “The A350 XWB brings together the latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies from Airbus and our partners to provide a 25 percent step-change in fuel efficiency compared to the competition.” Eurocopter currently has approximately 250 employees working on the A350 XWB passenger door program’s design, development and production. Series production eventually will involve more than 400 employees. Total value of the A350 XWB door systems to be provided by Eurocopter is nearly 1.5 billion euros, which includes the cargo doors subcontracted to program partners in South Korea.
In addition to the passenger door presented to Airbus today, five cargo doors already have been delivered. A total of seven door shipsets for the A350 XWB are slated for delivery in 2012 – each composed of four pairs of passenger doors, two cargo doors and one baggage door.
Eurocopter employs a total of some 1,300 personnel in Germany on the development, production, and maintenance of aircraft components. Every year, the Donauwörth site produces more than 4,000 passenger and cargo doors for various aircraft types in the Airbus product line.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace and defense-related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approximately 20,000 people. In 2011, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s number one helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 5.4 billion Euros, orders for 457 new helicopters and a 43 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s helicopters account for 33 percent of the worldwide civil and parapublic fleet. Eurocopter’s strong international presence is ensured by its subsidiaries and participations in 21 countries. Eurocopter’s worldwide network of service centers, training facilities, distributors and certified agents supports some 2,900 customers. There are currently more than 11,300 Eurocopter helicopters in service in 149 countries. Eurocopter offers the most comprehensive civil and military helicopter range in the world and is fully committed to safety as the most important aspect of its business.