Hexcel Composites has had its supply contracts for structural prepeg with Airbus extended to the end of 2004, it was announced at the show. Airbus growth and the rise in the volume of composite materials in its aircraft has seen Hexcel¹s business with the European airframer rise to 13% of total revenues.

With a long track record with Airbus, Hexcel (Hall 2B, Stand F6) is eagerly awaiting the finalisation of composite material content in the A380. However, says the UK company, a preliminary figure of about 30t of composite material per aircraft is expected - 15% of the total structural weight.

Hexcel's HexPly M21 prepeg has already been selected for qualification for potential A380 composite applications such as the vertical and horizontal empannages and central wingbox.

And the company is bullish about future take-up of composites. It says the planned Airbus Military A400M transport could feature composites accounting for some 40% of the structural weight.

Companies making up Hexcel Composites have been supplying composite material to Airbus since the early 1970s when it made carbon fibre spoilers and fairings for the first A300. Those early composite parts were of prepeg-skinned honeycomb sandwich construction.

Source: Flight Daily News