Friday 30 Oct until Sunday 1 Nov (t.b.c.)
A good central 4* hotel in Toulouse
Direct Brussels Airlines flights
Expat Club is known for coming up with tons of interesting and unique visits. For this weekend we have yet another one lined up on our calendar. Actually, it’s a perfect combination between a visit to the beautiful historic French town Toulouse, and a fascinating industrial tour at the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus. Learn everything about the production of the different Airbus families, from the A320 and A330, to the super-modern A350 and the gigantic A380XWB, and witness with your own eyes how these birds are assembled and finished. On top of that we learn more about aviation history in the amazing Aeroscopia Museum, with iconic planes like the Super Guppy and Concorde on display. Needless to say that a city tour is also part of the program, as well as a delectable encounter with Toulouse its outstanding cuisine.
This trip is not yet confirmed in terms of dates, program and time. We also cannot yet give you a price indication. Expat Club is keen on adding Toulouse to the list of destinations and travel there with a group of fun people (max. 25-30 people). If you are interested, we would love to hear that. You can now pre-reserve a spot for free and without obligations. We will then inform you whenever we have more information available. If you are a member and logged in, simply click on the RSVP button. If you are not a member, you can register first and follow these stops, or simply submit your name and email address on this page. Membership is not required for any of our trips because we only offer this online option for those who want to connect more with others.
What is included in the trip fee?
This trip will be rather inclusive. We have a smartly designed and compact schedule that allows us to see as much as possible without having the feeling that you have to run. We just want to avoid unnecessarily losing time by planning things well beforehand, including lunches and dinners, so you won’t have to think what to do next. A worry-free trip that includes the following items:
- Direct Brussels Airlines flights to Toulouse
- Private airport transfers
- 2 nights in a 4* hotel in downtown Toulouse
- 2x sumptuous buffet breakfast
- Lunch on Saturday afternoon
- Dinner on Saturday evening
- Local transportation
- Private guided tour Toulouse
- All entrance fees
- Private guided tour Airbus Factory (A350XWB & A380 lines!!)
- Private guided tour Aeroscopia
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime expat memory
What is optional during this trip?
- Single room
- Lunch on Sunday
At this moment we cannot yet tell you the trip price. We can just say that we are making use of good 4* hotel, private transfers and guides, and that we include all entrance fees and one lunch and a dinner. We do so to ensure you will get the best possible experience and that you can focus on enjoying this amazing city and our special aviation day.
Who can join us?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone feels comfortable.
- Members & non-members
- Expats & (international) Belgians
- All ages, including children
- Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
Families & children
Expat Club welcomes everyone, including families with children (10+). However, due to the extended guided tours this trip is not meant for young children. Contact us if you are interested so we can ensure you get the right rooms and a family/child discount. These discounts are valid on the early-bird and regular trip fees (no further discounts apply, including pre-reservation discounts).
Number of participants
On this trip we accept about 25 participants only.
As with all Expat Club trips we carefully think about the entire program to arrange a smooth trip for everyone. This includes the location of the hotel, pre-reserved entrance times, organised lunches and dinners, good local transportation etc. Still, unforeseen things can happen that may influence our program, such as traffic and road blocks, unexpected closed destinations etc. We always do our best to come up with the best possible alternative in collaboration with local guides, bus drivers, hotels and welcoming restaurants and museums. The below program gives a good indication of what you can expect, but will surely still change until we can confirm it fully.
Friday 30 October
19h00 – Meeting at Brussels Airport (Starbucks main terminal)
21h05 – Departure to Toulouse
22h45 – Arrival Toulouse
Saturday 31 October
07h30 – Breakfast
08h30 – Departure to airport
09h00 – Guided tour Airbus 1: the A350-line
10h30 – Coffee break
11h00 – Guided tour Airbus 2: the A380 line
12h30 – Lunch
13h30 – Guided visit Aeroscopia
15h30 – Return to Toulouse
19h00 – Dinner in city
Sunday 1 November
07h30 – Breakfast
09h00 – Check-out & guided city tour
11h30 – Free time
12h00 – Lunch
13h30 – Visit to Museum
16h00 – Departure to airport
18h20 – Departure to Brussels
20h05 – Arrival Brussels
With about 470.000 inhabitants, Toulouse is France’s 4th largest city, after Paris, Marseille and Lyon. Located in the South of the country on the Garonne river and at 680km from Paris, about 50km from the foothills of the Pyrenees, 150km from the Mediterranean and 230 from the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a rather isolated place. Still, it is surrounded with beautiful landscapes and many lovely towns and villages. And with an industrial giant like Airbus and several other aerospace companies, it’s also a city of economic power to reckon with. In fact, did you know that Paris Orly – Toulouse is one of the busiest air routes in Europe?
Like many other cities in Europe, Toulouse was founded by the Romans. Throughout history it played a key role at the political, cultural, and economic level. This is also recognised by UNESCO, which gave two sites in the city the World Heritage Site status, namely the Basilica of St. Sernin and the Canal du Midi. Toulouse is a lively town, which becomes clear if you walk through its old city center. As with all our trips, we will hire a local guide to show us around to see the best sites, including the main city square Capitole de Toulouse, and the old Dominican Monastery Couvent des Jacobins.
Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France Santiago de Compostela was the supreme goal for countless thousands of pious pilgrims who converged there from all over Europe throughout the Middle Ages. To reach Spain pilgrims had to pass through France, and the group of important historical monuments included in this inscription marks out the four routes by which they did so. (Source: UNESCO website) The Basilica of Saint-Sernin is (...) the former abbey church of the Abbey of Saint-Sernin or St Saturnin. Apart from the church, none of the abbey buildings remain. The current church is located on the site of a previous basilica of the 4th century which contained the body of Saint Saturnin or Sernin, the first Bishop of Toulouse in c. 250. Constructed in the Romanesque style between about 1080 and 1120, with construction continuing thereafter, Saint-Sernin is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, if not the world. The church is particularly noted for the quality and quantity of its Romanesque sculpture. (Source: Wikipedia)
Canal du Midi This 360-km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.) is one of the most remarkable feats of civil engineering in modern times. Built between 1667 and 1694, it paved the way for the Industrial Revolution. The care that its creator, Pierre-Paul Riquet, took in the design and the way it blends with its surroundings turned a technical achievement into a work of art. (Source: UNESCO website)
Airbus & Aeroscopia
When it comes to manufacturers of passenger airliners, there are only two big players in the world: Boeing and Airbus. A few smaller players such as Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, and Gulfstream focus either on smaller jets up to about 100 passengers or on luxurious private jets. In 2019 Boeing produced only 20 aircraft more, but with the ongoing problems of the 737 Max the title for 2020 may very well be switching hands. This year is of course heavily influenced by the corona crisis, which will undoubtedly have a crucial impact on the operations of the entire aircraft production sector.
The history of Airbus begins in 1970, so already 50 years ago. In that year the Airbus Industries GIE consortium was founded, followed by the the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company NV (EADS). Besides manufacturing civil aircraft, it also produces military aircraft, helicopters and a range of aerospace products. Although the company is registered in the Netherlands, its headquarters are in Blagnac near Toulouse Airport, and its final assembly and production lines are in Toulouse, Hamburg, and Seville, as well as in Tianjin (China), Mobile (US) and Montreal (Canada). Up until mid 2019 it had produced already 12.000 aircraft.
Unless you have never flown, it is virtually impossible that you never stepped inside an Airbus. In fact, all Brussels Airlines aircraft are from Airbus (A319, A320, and A330). So let’s have a closer look at what passenger planes roll out the various Airbus factories.
The above overview does not yet include the new Airbus A220, which was initially made by Bombardier. It is a smaller jet with 2+3 configuration in economy that comes in 2 versions, the 100 and 300 for about the 100-150 passengers range. It can be used for both shorter and lower-demand continental routes. Still, with its flight range of 6500-7000 kilometres, it may one day be used for intercontinental flights as well, for instance from Northwestern Europe (London, Dublin) to the U.S. East Coast.
The larger A320 family, which includes the A318 / A319 / A320 / A321, carrying from 107 to well over 200, is primarily used for continental routes, including distances such as Brussels to North-Africa. The wide body A330 / A340 are already a bit older and can carry between 235 and 370 passengers. The super fuel efficient A350 family carries somewhere between 250 and 410 passengers. And for the King of the skies, the A380, the numbers are even more staggering, namely between 544 and 868 passengers. Of course all these depend on aircraft configuration, meaning the division between first, business, premium economy and economy class.
Our main purpose for travelling to Toulouse is of course the visit to the mega facilities of the Airbus factory. Many Airbus planes are assembled and finished here, and also the Airbus Headquarters are here, with a total of 28.000 employees working in this region.
For this visit we arrange two back-to-back guided tours of the assembly lines of the A350 and/or the A380, as well a platform tour. The final program will be defined at a later point whenever we know more about the actual production taking place during our time of visit.
The A350XWB is an “extra-wide-body” plane with an economy configuration of 3-3-3. It comes in two versions, the 900 and 1000, with the biggest difference being the length, namely 7 meters longer and therefore adding dozens of extra seats. During our tour we will learn more about this super efficient and modern plane.
If you want to see the A380 double-decker being assembled, you have to hurry, because Airbus plans to cease its construction from 2021. Despite it being a marvel of an airplane, its sheer size makes it hard to operate it efficiently. The number of orders by large airlines are simply too low to continue. As of 31 December 2019, a total of 251 orders for this almost-half-a-billion euro aircraft were made, with 242 delivered and 2 that already stopped flying.
Only 9 more new planes will be delivered, 8 of which go to Emirates and 1 to All Nippon Airways. Emirates by far flies most of these planes, namely 115, followed by Singapore Airlines (24), Lufthansa (14), British Airways and Quantas (12), and Air France, Etihad, Korean and Qatar (each 10). There are many reasons why Airbus stops the A380 production, some of them are:
- Airlines struggled finding routes that required the capacity of the A380.
- Passengers prefer 2 or more flights per day with smaller jets to the same destination above 1 big flight.
- The aircraft is only profitable when it is relatively full, and getting it full is difficult.
- The maintenance of 4 engines is very expensive, and flying 4 engines has become less important since twin-engine aircrafts are allowed to fly more efficient routes now (i.e. fly farther from potential emergency airports).
- Airlines prefer lighter twin-engine aircrafts like the Boeing 777 and 787, and the Airbus 350.
- Upgrades of the interior is incredibly expensive, especially due to the sheer number of seats.
No, you are not looking at a new Airbus prototype of a triple-decker, but a modified version of the old A300 wide-body airliner meant for transporting large cargo and aircraft components in particular. This A300-600ST (Super Transporter) is also called the Beluga, because its shape resembles the playful white dolphin. An updated version, the Beluga XL, is based on the newer Airbus A330. There is a big chance we will see one of these giants at Toulouse Aiport because there are 5 of them flying. A much older version of Airbus cargo plane can be see in the Aeroscopia Museum, the incredibly odd-shaped Super Guppy.
At just a stone’s throw from the Airbus assembly halls you will find the Aeroscopia Aeronautical Museum. It’s one of Europe’s top spots to learn about aviation history, while enjoying a rich display of iconic aircraft, including two Concordes, a retired A340 and A380, an Airbus A400M military transporter, and a Super Guppy. If you love aviation, this is like a candy shop for a child.
We can see most of the aircraft from inside or walk underneath them. But what is even more interesting are the stories and explanations fo our private guide who will show us around Aeroscopia’s magnificent collection. Because every plane has its own story to tell, it’s own history, characteristics and anecdotes. This will certainly complete our aviation day at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
Hotel & flights
For your comfort, convenience, and safety, we will be staying in a good 4* hotel in the centre of Toulouse. We cannot yet share which hotel, but as usual we always pick good one at a great location and with top reviews. In this hotel you can choose between the following room types:
- Single room – 1 large bed for 1 person (surcharge applies)
- Double room – 1 large bed for 2 persons (a couple or parent/child)
- Twin room – 2 single beds for 2 persons (two friends sharing a room)
- Twin room – 2 single beds for 2 solo travellers who want to share a room
- Triple/family rooms – at request
Room sharing for solo travellers
If you travel alone, you can share a “twin room” with 2 single beds (male or female rooms). We introduce you to the other travellers who also want to share a room. This means you don’t have to search for a friend who wants to join. We also do not assign you to a room, but you choose who you want to share the room with. You can select this room sharing option during the reservation processs. It is a perfect way to lower your costs and to meet another friendly expat.
For this trip we offer you the possibility to choose between 2 outgoing flights. For those who definitely have to work on Friday can just take their weekend bag or trolley with them to work and take an evening flight. For those who can take Friday off may already leave in the morning.
- Friday: Brussels 09h35 – Toulouse 11h15
- Friday: Brussels 21h05 – Toulouse 22h45
- Sunday: Toulouse 18h20 – Brussels 20h05
- The trip will be carried out by Brussels Airlines.
- The trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances.
- The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know.
- You are personally responsible for getting good cancellation and/or travel insurance that covers you for unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses before or during the trip.
- You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
- Expat Club cannot be held liable for unforeseen delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the coach, strikes, weather etc.
- Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during the guided tours. Joining this trip is safe but still at your own risk.
- If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (male/male, female/female). During the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to fully pay for it yourself.
- If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, you will have to pay the single room supplement or share a room with another person (if available).
Picture event calendar: © AIRBUS S.A.S. 2011 – photo by exm company / P. Pigeyre
Picture on top of this page: © AIRBUS S.A.S. 2015 – computer rendering by FIXION – MMS