FARNBOROUGH: First A350-1000 parts take shape

Farnborough
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Airbus has started manufacturing forgings for the root joint on the centre wing-box of the A350-1000, the largest member of the twin-engined aircraft family.

Centre wing-box assembly will commence by the end of this year with the aim of delivering it to the St Nazaire plant in 2015.

A350 programme chief Didier Evrard, speaking during the Farnborough air show, added that the airframer started work on carbonfibre wing-box covers in June.

He says these components have a long lead time on the A350-1000 and amount to “the longest pole in the tent”.

The A350-1000, which has accumulated 169 orders, is due to enter service in 2017.

Rolls-Royce has just carried out the first run of the higher-thrust Trent XWB-97 engine which will power the aircraft.

The engine is the exclusive powerplant on the -1000, complementing the XWB-84 for the A350-900, and will begin test flights in 2016.

“All the experience we gained in the Trent XWB-84 test programme will help us optimise development of the XWB-97,” says Trent XWB programme director Simon Burr.

Qatar Airways is a launch customer for the A350-1000 and is also due to take the first -900 at the end of this year. Rolls-Royce delivered the first Trent XWB-84 for the initial Qatar -900 in May.