Airbus considers sourcing composite wing panel outside Europe to reduce costs

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is in talks with Airbus about supplying the A350's composite wing panel.

Industry sources say Airbus is considering sourcing the entire wing panel outside Europe to reduce costs and a decision on whether to keep the work in-house will be made in two to three months. Airbus facilities in Germany, Spain and the UK are also seeking to produce wing skins for the A350 (Flight International, 5-11 March).

KAI is bidding to supply the entire panel, including both the upper and lower skins, and will hold another round of talks with Airbus at next week's Paris air show.

Sources say KAI could be awarded only the upper skins because Airbus may decide to keep the more technologically advanced lower skins in-house.

KAI has reportedly been selected to supply a portion of the Boeing 787 fixed trailing-edge, but a contract has not yet been finalised. KAI already supplies Boeing with several 737, 767 and 777 components and Airbus with lower outer wing skin panels for the A380. For the A350, Airbus is looking for a factory to supply wing panels as a single part composed entirely of composites. For existing models and the A380, Airbus split the wing into several panels with a composite skin, but honeycomb core.


Source: Flight International