The Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft, visited Filton Airfield for the last time today (Tuesday 18th December).
Operations at the airfield are due to cease on Friday, after its owners BAE Systems said it was no longer economically viable.
South Gloucestershire Council has outlined a strategic plan to build 2,500 homes on the site of the airfield along with 55ha reserved for employment uses. The new neighbourhood has been provisionally dubbed ‘New Charlton‘, a name that commemorates the village of Charlton that was demolished to make way for an extension of the runway in the late 1940s.
Closure of the airfield has been opposed by the Save Filton Airfield campaign group, which says it could put engineering and manufacturing jobs at risk. A protest march held in February attracted around 200 people.
Airbus, which employs over 4,00 people at Filton, has said its activities will not be affected by the closure. Wings for the Airbus A400M that are manufacured in Filton have until now been transported to an assembly plant in Spain by Beluga aircraft but they will now be taken by road to Avonmouth and onward from there by ship.
The A380 made two landings at Filton today. After its first arrival at around 10am, it picked up around 40 passengers, who were then taken on a flight to Exeter and back. The aircraft finally departed for Toulouse at around 2pm.
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