MIAMI— Less than one year after the delivery of the first A350-900, Airbus announced the assembly start of the first major components of the A350-1000, the stretched variant of the type.
The German sub-contractor Premium AEROTEC delivered to Airbus the first complete front fuselage section. The firm is responsible for the manufacture of the complete front fuselage section 13/14, the side shells of the rear fuselage (section 16/18), the floor structure and the pressure bulkhead, as well as the door frames, built in carbon fiber composite material.
Once equipped the front fuselage section in Hamburg, will be flown to Airbus Production Plant in Saint-Nazaire, where it will meet the nose fuselage section, already delivered by Stelia Aerospace, another Airbus sub-contractor.
Once joined together, the section will be delivered to the Final Assembly Line in Toulouse. Airbus relies on its A300-600 Super Transporters, known as Belugas to transport outsize loads between the different facilities of the firm located all over Europe.
Last August, the assembly of the wings for the first Airbus A350-1000 got underway at Airbus in Broughton, North Wales. These are designed and developed at Airbus’ facility in Filton, near Bristol, where a number of other systems are designed and tested including fuel systems and landing gear.
According to the manufacturer, the A350-1000 wing has the same span of the A350-900, but 90% of the parts have been modified and the trailing edge has been extended to resize the wing for the additional payload and range.
Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce has delivered the first flight-test version of the Trent XWB-97, the highest-thrust production powerplant ever built by the manufacturer. The 97,000 lb thrust engine, produced at Rolls-Royce’s premises at Derby, England, was delivered to Toulouse on September 23, where it will be fitted to the Airbus A380 flying testbed (MSN001).
The final assembly of the aircraft will begin early 2016, followed by the first flight to take place in the second half of next year. Airbus expects to start the deliveries in mid-2017. To date, orders stand at 169 from nine customers. The largest customer is Qatar Airways with 37 units, followed by United Airlines, the sole operator of the variant in the Americas, with 35 aircraft.