A “remarkable” flight test programme, and production ramp-up underway for a mature A350 XWB aircraft

11 February 2014 Feature story

As the A350 XWB progresses toward its certification and service entry goals before year-end, Airbus’ focus also continues on the initial customer aircraft and production ramp-up for the new jetliner.

Speaking to international reporters at Singapore’s Changi Airport, Airbus managers stressed the A350 XWB’s maturity in its development, flight test and certification.

Simon Azar, the Manager for Twin-Aisle Aircraft in Airbus’ Marketing Division, noted the A350 XWB flight test programme had a fast start – progressing from the no. 1 aircraft’s rollout to maiden flight in only 32 days last year. 

The first two aircraft have now logged more than 1,000 hours aloft, demonstrating the A350 XWB’s robustness and the benefits of Airbus’ ground test program, which included the participation of its suppliers, according to Fernando Alonso, the Senior Vice President – Flight and Integration Tests at Airbus. 

“It has been a remarkable flight test effort, and is far beyond our previous programmes in how much time we’ve been logging daily,” Alonso explained.  “From the beginning, we’ve seen a very robust and mature airplane.  Within the first month after the A350 XWB’s maiden takeoff in June 2013, we already were flying twice a day, six days per week.”

With the first A350 XWB customer aircraft now on the final assembly line in Toulouse, France – an A350-900 for launch airline Qatar Airways – Airbus is ramping up production progressively to reach the planned rate of 10 aircraft per month by 2018.

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