Airbus inaugurated a factory in France on Tuesday for its new long-range A350 aircraft, which will allow longer-distance direct flights. The new model should make its maiden flight by the summer of 2013.
European plane manufacturer Airbus said on Tuesday that its next-generation A350 passenger jet would take to the skies by the middle of next year and be commercialised by the spring of 2014 as the company inaugurated a new factory in south-western France.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer Fabrice Brégier told journalists gathered at the ribbon-cutting event in Toulouse that he was hopeful the A350 would be ready in time for the 2014 Paris Air Show at Bourget and that orders would begin to trickle in before then.
Built to compete against Boeings 787 Dreamliner, the A350 will be the first European airplane made from mainly lightweight carbon-composite materials, instead of aluminium, allowing for higher fuel-efficiency.
Three different models of the A350 will seat between 270 and 350 people.
Airbus and Boeing say they expect total demand for mid-sized long-range aircrafts to surpass 6,000 units in the next 20 years, but have warned that neither the A350 nor the 787 will make a profit for years.
The next-generation carriers will allow airline companies to set up new routes that bypass today’s busy airport hubs.
The competing 787 went into service in Japan a year ago, but only after complications that delayed its first deliveries by three years. The A350 is already a year behind its originally scheduled delivery date.
Airbus is involved in disputes with the United States over subsidies and even one of its founder nations, Germany, over the funding for the A350, whose development is estimated at $15 billion.
Date created : 2012-10-23