The big picture: A350 XWB tail plane in Airbus livery

23 Oct 2012 by BusinessTraveller

The first Airbus A350 XWB component to be painted in the manufacturer’s livery has rolled out of the paintshop, coinciding with the inauguration of the aircraft’s final assembly line in Toulouse.

The 10-metre high vertical tail plane will be fitted to the first flyable A350 XWB aircraft next month (a second static aircraft for use in ground tests is also under construction).

The French prime minister officially inaugurated the aircraft’s final assembly line today (October 23), which has been named after Roger Beteille, aviation pioneer and one of the four founding fathers of Airbus.

The 74,000 sqm assembly line will employ up to 1,500 people, with launch customer Qatar Airways scheduled to take delivery of the first A350 in 2014.

Last year Qatar confirmed it had selected Thales as the provider of its in-flight entertainment system for the A350 XWB (see online news November 17, 2011).

Airbus has taken over 550 orders for the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body), with other major customers including Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Asiana, TAM, United, Aeroflot, US Airways and Singapore Airlines.

The aircraft will compete in the next-generation wide-body market with Boeing’s B787 Dreamliner.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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