Ville de Bordeaux

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Ville de Bordeaux.jpg
Civil and naval ensign of FranceFrance
NameVille de Bordeaux
NamesakeBordeaux, port city of France
Port of registryBordeaux, France
BuilderJingling shipyard, Nanjing, China
  • IMO: 9270842
  • Callsign: FZCE
General characteristics
TypeRoll-on/roll-off ferry
Tonnage21528 gross tons
Length154 m (505 ft)
Beam28 m (92 ft)
Draft5.5 m (18 ft)
Installed powerdiesel

The Ville de Bordeaux is a ship carrier designed to transport the elements of the Airbus A380.

Ville de Bordeaux 2021 at Airbus in Hamburg

A380 production[edit]

The origin of Airbus as a European holding company for a series of country-based existing aerospace manufacturers resulted in a geographically diversified structure with plants in France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Transportation of components and sub-structures of existing Airbus models was facilitated by air, using the specially developed A300-600ST Beluga aircraft.[3]

As the major components and sub-assembly structures of the A380 were too big for the A300-600ST, Airbus were forced to choose between consolidating their diverse existing European factory infrastructure, or finding a way of transporting the components to a final assembly plant in Toulouse. Airbus choose to keep the plants diversified, using sea and road transport, with the production facilities and supply chain scaled for a production rate of four A380s per month.[4]


Conceived by Deltamarin, Ville de Bordeaux was designed as a Roll-on/roll-off ferry. She was built in Nanjing, China using the Jinling shipyard.

Built for a cost of $30million,[2] the ship was launched in January 2004. She is the lead ship in a fleet of three Roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ships leased to Airbus; the others being the City of Hamburg delivered in 2008 and the Ciudad de Cadiz delivered in 2009.[5]

Jointly owned by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs of France, and Norwegian ship-owner Leif Höegh & Co; she is operated jointly by their subsidiary companies Fret and CETAM, on a 20+10year lease to Airbus.[1] The ship started operations on June 10, 2004.[6]

In 2021 Ville de Bordeaux was fitted with a 500m² 'Seawing' - an automated foil kite developed by AirSeas (an Airbus subsidiary) to provide wind assistance to propulsion - and in January 2022 commenced six months of sea trials in preparation for full deployment.[7]


Starting at the Airbus Hamburg Finkenwerder plant on the River Elbe, the ship loads the front and rear sections of the fuselage, from where they are shipped to the United Kingdom.[4] The wings, which are manufactured at Filton in Bristol and Broughton, Flintshire in North Wales, are transported by barge to Mostyn docks, where the ship adds them to its cargo. In Saint-Nazaire in western France, the ship trades the fuselage sections from Hamburg for larger, assembled sections, some of which include the nose. The ship unloads in Bordeaux. Afterwards, the ship picks up the belly and tail sections by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA in Cádiz in southern Spain, and delivers them to Bordeaux. From there, the A380 parts are transported by barge to Langon, and by the oversize road convoys of the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit from there to the assembly hall in Toulouse.[8]

After assembly, the aircraft are flown to Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport, part of the Hamburg Finkenwerder plant from which their journey started, to be furnished and painted.


  1. ^ a b c "Delivery of the " ville de Bordeaux "". Louis Dreyfus Armateurs. 2004-03-30. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
  2. ^ a b "Northrop Grumman Supplies Advanced Navigation, Communications Systems For Ville de Bordeaux". Northrop Grumman. 2004-06-07. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
  3. ^ Babka, Scott (5 September 2006). "EADS: the A380 Debate" (PDF). Morgan Stanley. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
  4. ^ a b "Towards Toulouse". Flight International. 20 May 2003. Retrieved 2006-09-18.
  5. ^ "Ciudad De Cadiz delivered". Höegh Autoliners. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
  6. ^ "A380: topping out ceremony in the equipment hall. A380: special transport ship in Hamburg for the first time". Airbus Press Centre. 2004-06-10. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
  7. ^ Prevljak, Naida Hakirevic (14 December 2021). "Airseas: Seawing kite system sets sail with 1st installation on commercial ship". Schiedam: Navingo BV. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  8. ^ "A380 convoys". IGG.FR. 28 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-28.