Today, Airbus starts construction work on the final assembly line for the A350 XWB, the new highly efficient wide-body aircraft scheduled to enter service in 2013.
The 74,000 m2 factory will house the first stages of final assembly for the A350 XWB: the joining up of the fuselage and wings. Aircraft testing and cabin equipping will then be completed in the nearby A330/340 Facility.
The 140 M€ Airbus facility at Toulouse, France, will provide work for more than 1,000 people when fully operational, and will be the most eco-efficient Airbus final assembly hall.
During the construction work, the concrete and foundations of the old buildings will be recycled and reused in the new facility. An energy management system will optimise energy use meaning that the photovoltaic roofing will provide much of the buildings electricity requirements. The new streamlined aircraft assembly process will allow teams to work in parallel, reducing the time from start of final assembly to aircraft delivery by 30 percent.
Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO said, “The detailed definition freeze at the end of 2008 and the start of construction work on our new Final Assembly line confirm that the A350 XWB is making steady progress. Set for first delivery in 2013, the A350 XWB will shape efficiency for the aviation industry. The global Airbus community, including our employees, suppliers and customers, are working closely together for the success of this programme.“
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300 nm / 15,400 km, it is available in three basic passenger versions: the A350-800 accommodating 270 passengers, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 for 350 passengers in a typical three-class layout.
The A350 has the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort, the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in this market segment. With power supplied by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of volatile fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental concerns.
Just over two years after launch, orders for the aircraft stand at 478 from 29 customers, making it the fastest selling new aircraft programme in the history of aviation.