European airframer Airbus has begun final assembly of the first A350-1000 at the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line (FAL) at Toulouse, France. The A350-1000 is the largest variant in the current A350 XWB family, the A350-1000, measuring nearly 74 meters from nose to tail. It will seat 366 passengers in a typical 3-class configuration. The aircraft is intended to replace the A340-600 and compete with the Boeing 777.
This A350-1000, the first of three flight test aircraft to be built, is scheduled for its maiden flight before the end of 2016. A350-1000 deliveries are to start in mid-2017.
To ensure the smooth integration of the A350-1000 into the FAL while A350-900 production is ramping-up, Airbus has added three additional final assembly stations. For maximum flexibility, all stations in the A350 XWB FAL can be used for both models.
The aircraft is currently in “Station 50” for where it’s fuselage will be joined-up and nose landing gear installed. It will then move to “Station 40” where the wings, main landing gear, pylons and tail planes will be installed. To optimise the A350 assembly process, Airbus begins the cabin furnishing and first electrical power-on in parallel to the structural assembly work. When this stage is completed, the aircraft will continue through the FAL process, with final structural activities, ground tests, painting, cabin & cockpit completion and engines installation before being transferred to the flight test centre.
Airbus has secured a 181 orders for the A350-1000 from 10 customers. Qatar Airways will be the launch customer of the A350-1000.