Spirit AeroSystems is almost ready to ship the first panels for the center fuselage of the first production Airbus A350 airplane to its plant in St. Nazaire, France, for final assembly.
Fuselage panels for the upper shell of the center fuselage will ship from Spirit's plant in Kinston, N.C., where they are being manufactured.
Workers are finishing up the final panel, Spirit spokesman Ken Evans said.
A giant Antonov airplane is on the ground at the Kinston plant ready to move the shipment, Evans said.
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Spirit workers in France will begin final assembly of the panels as soon as they arrive, he said.
The panels for the lower shell of the center fuselage will ship from Kinston by the end of the year, Evans said.
Final assembly for the upper and lower panels, which will become the center fuselage section over the wing, will occur during the first quarter of 2012, he said.
The early shipments will be flown to France. Eventually, the panels will be delivered by ships to France.