Airbus has invested €30m (£20.9m) in a new loading dock at its plant in Wales, which will allow the company's distinctive Beluga cargo aircraft to transport wings to assembly plants in Europe in all weather conditions.
The move is part of a wider £2bn investment Airbus is making in the Broughton facility, which manufactures wings for all of Airbus' airliners. Currently the Beluga – so named because it looks like the whale due to the ‘bloated’ fuselage that allows it to carry oversized cargo – is restricted as to when it can load the wings by prevailing weather conditions.
If gusts go above 30 knots, work has to be halted because the aircraft’s cargo doors act as a giant sail, making loading unsafe. The new dock means loading operations are no longer exposed to the elements, allowing work to go ahead without delay.