Airbus has “done really well with [A350-900] flight test [and] in the first phase has gathered a lot [of information],” according to executive vice-president and program head Didier Evrard. By the beginning of November, the first two A350-900 twin-aisle twinjets had logged more than 100 flights and over 500 hours of testing.
Airbus has signaled that it could drop the A350-800, the smallest member of the new family.
GE Aviation’s aerostructures division has started building a 97,000-sq-ft composites factory at Hamble in the UK. The work is part of a $50 million investment at the site to support its role in making wing components for the new Airbus A350 XWB airliner and is due to be completed in early 2015.
Airbus has introduced a central configuration software tool for the A350 XWB program that promises to make cabin layout and cabin configuration more efficient, thanks to software engineering specialist PACE.
A growing need to access top engineering expertise, which exists in India today, has led GKN Aerospace to launch a new engineering center in Bangalore with around 100 skilled engineers, of which 70 will be transferred from its new Engine Operations (formerly Volvo Aero) office, according to a GKN spokeswoman.
A plainly visible sign of progress on the Airbus A350 program emerged last week with the installation of the first pair of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and the new Honeywell HGT1700 auxiliary power unit at the airframer’s production facilities in Toulouse, France.
Qatar Airways underscored its endorsement of the largest variant of Airbus’s new A350 XWB last week by raising its firm order count for the A350-1000 to 37 from 20. The contract amendment also added three A350-900s to its previous order for 17, but it effectively scrapped Qatar’s firm order for 20 A350-800s.