In addition to March's milestone of the first forward fuselage section completion, Germany is moving ahead on other key areas of A380 production. Several days after the forward fuselage section was despatched, an upper fuselage shell and a rear fuselage section left the Hamburg plant, also by barge on the river Elbe.

Further downriver at Dresden, the floor panels for the upper, main and lower decks are being manufactured at EADS EFW. Major component assembly also started at Hamburg in August last year and at Airbus's Bremen plant, assembly of theA380 landing flaps was started in December.

Last week Airbus opened the painting hangar at Finkenwerder. Following the structural assembly hall, the paintshop is the second extra-large A380 hangar to be completed on the 140Ha (346 acre) Mühlenberger Loch site extension. It is located on the western portion of the newly reclaimed site and will house two A380s simultaneously. Painting of the A380 aircraft will take place in two separate bays. The paintshop is 213m (703ft) long and 105m wide and has a surface area of 22,365 m2 (241,000ft2).

Source: Flight International