Airbus delivers wings for first RAF A400M

Aircraft wings assembled at Airbus in Filton have been shipped to Spain for use on the first Royal Air Force (RAF) A400M military transporter.

Following the closure of Filton airfield after it was sold for £120m last year, the wings are being transported to a final assembly line in Seville by road and sea.

The wings were loaded onto a ferry at the Royal Portbury Docks, with the RAF expected to receive its order of 22 A400Ms in September next year to replace its existing Hercules aircraft.

In March, Airbus announced the creation of 50 temporary jobs at its Filton site, which already employs 4,500, to assist production after an increase in A400M orders.

The A400M’s development has been dogged by a string of delays, overspends and political rows that have posed threats to its future.

Its maiden flight, originally planned for 2008, took place in December 2009, with orders totalling 174 aircrafts from eight nations up to July 2011.