Airbus has delivered a front fuselage section for its A350 XWB to the aircraft’s Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France, the first major airframe section to reach that milestone.
The 21 metre long section was delivered on December 23 via Beluga aircraft from Airbus’s facility in Saint-Nazaire.
The fuselage is destined for the A350 XWB static test airframe, which will be the first A350 assembled. Airbus said assembly of the airframe will begin this quarter with the joining of the front fuselage and centre fuselage. Assembly of the first flyable A350 test aircraft will begin in the second quarter 2012, Airbus said.
The twin engine A350 is slated to compete with Boeing’s 777 and 787 airliners.
Airbus announced delays in production of the aircraft in November, saying it would begin deliveries in the first half of 2014. The company says it has a backlog of more than 550 orders for A350 aircraft.