The vertical fin for the first Airbus A380 (MSN003) for launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA) was loaded on to a Beluga transport aircraft in Hamburg, Germany earlier this month for its two-and-a-half-hour flight to the final assembly line in Toulouse, France.

The 14.1m (46ft)-tall fin took 11 days to paint at Airbus's Finkenwerder factory near Hamburg. The A380's fin is assembled at Stade in Germany, and incorporates the rudder manufactured at Puerto Real in Spain.

SIA is targeting a June 2006 entry-into-service date for its first A380, though industry sources say this is likely to slip into the third quarter due to cabin completion issues and the need for pilot training flights. The A380 is expected to make its maiden flight early next month.

Source: Flight International