Having achieved this nearly a year before first
flight will allow early identification and
resolution of potential issues and thus help to
protect the aircraft’s development schedule.
Testing of the front fuselage section will
proceed during this summer. This will be
followed by the power-on of the entire fuselage
later this year.
The Airbus A350 is a family of long-range,
wide-body jet airliners under development by
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The A350
will be the first Airbus with both fuselage and
wing structures made primarily of carbon
fiber-reinforced polymer. It will carry 250 to
350 passengers in three-class seating, depending
The A350 was born as an A330-derived
minimum-changed competitor to the Boeing 787
Dreamliner and the larger Boeing 777, but was
unanimously rejected by prospective customers.
Airbus was forced to redesign the initial
proposal, but airlines voiced support for a
complete overhaul. The eventual proposal
incorporates major changes, which Airbus says
will be more fuel-efficient, with up to 8% lower
operating cost than the Boeing 787.
The redesigned A350 was marketed by Airbus as
the A350 XWB, where the XWB stands for Extra
Wide Body. The launch customer for the A350 is
Qatar Airways, which ordered 80 aircraft across
the three variants. Development costs are
projected to be US$15 billion. The airliner is
scheduled to enter airline service during the
second half of 2014. As of 20 January 2012, 561
orders had been placed for the new aircraft.