“The third in our series of Enthusiasts’ Days was a truly special experience. A group of keen aviation buffs and Monarch team members were privileged to be the first visitors welcomed to the Airbus A350 wing plant in Broughton for an exclusive peek behind the scenes, an unforgettable day.
“The day started with a flight aboard a Monarch Airlines Airbus A321 at Manchester for a short flight to Chester. The Captain and First Officer treated passengers to a slow and circular approach to the airfield at Chester, allowing passengers on both sides to get a great view of the airport before we landed.
“In the Airbus conference suite, we were given a presentation about Airbus in the UK and had the opportunity to ask about the future of Airbus products, including the A320neo project. It was then that we were let loose in the factories. Escorted in small groups by Airbus apprentices, we were given a first hand look at the build procedures for the Airbus A320 family, Airbus A330 and Airbus A350 wings.
“We were fortunate enough to be the very first visitors to the huge A350 wing plant, the largest building in the UK. It was amazing to see the huge jigs that hold the wings in place while they are being worked on, and the rotating jigs that can turn the wings from horizontal to vertical to make them easier, and safer to work on. The East Factory, which houses the A320/A330 wing production, was first opened in 1939, and it is difficult to comprehend that a factory that was used to manufacturer aircraft for the war effort is now used for some of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the skies today! The Monarch pilots and cabin crew that came along for the tours offered the Airbus team an insight in to how they find operating Airbus equipment, and Airbus were also keen to hear about some of the more diverse ad-hoc flights we use their aircraft for.
“The flight back to Manchester featured a “who’s who” of Premier League football clubs as we flew over Liverpool & Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City as we approached Manchester. As we disembarked the aircraft, visitors got another chance to visit the flight deck and photograph the aircraft from the ramp. In the Monarch Aircraft Engineering hangar, we were given unparalleled access to commercial airliners, being allowed to nose about in undercarriage bays, look at some of the under floor wiring, investigate APUs and sit on an A320 flightdeck. There were also plenty of photo opportunities and lots of posing in front of aircraft engines! Tours were conducted by Monarch Aircraft Engineering apprentices who’d joined us on the trip to Chester, and amongst the awestruck visitors were some of the Airbus apprentices who were buzzing at being able to walk around the aircraft that they contribute toward building.
“Our third enthusiast event has been a fantastic success, not just for Monarch Airlines, but also for Airbus and for Monarch Aircraft Engineering. All of the ground staff, flight crew, engineers and apprentices enjoyed playing host for the day, as well as seeing some new and exciting parts of the aviation sector as well. A big thank you to everyone involved for their contribution to an unforgettable day for our aviation enthusiast friends.”
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