Alexa

Airbus A350 development on track

Airbus A350 development on track

As Airbus reaches a key milestone in the the development of its A350 XWB commercial jet program, a top executive at the company vowed Wednesday not to repeat the mistakes that marred the launch of the A380 superjumbo.
The company is on track to start delivery of the A350 in 2013, Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier told a news conference at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse. The aircraft is designed to compete with Boeing Co.'s 787.
Bregier, who is responsible for Airbus's day-to-day operations, said lessons have been learned from the management and communication failures on the A380 program, which compounded wiring difficulties and led to a two-year delay that wiped billions off profits.
"What for me is the most important is that we have changed the mindset of our people: They tell us the truth," he said Wednesday. "What we want is not that they tell us there is no problem."
"My job is very simple... to make sure there is nobody within Airbus who does not apply the rules. It gives me a big safety net that if there is a drift we will be able to fix it."
Didier Evrard, head of the A350 program, said Airbus is moving to a "new phase" in the development of the A350 XWB program after a key review was passed.
At the end of 2008, Airbus decided in an internal assessment that the A350-900 model is ready for a detailed definition freeze, which means the engineering focus shifts from the structure of the plane to parts design and the start of component production.
Airbus starts work on the final assembly line of the A350 XWB on Wednesday.
The A350 XWB will be available in three versions: the 270 seat A350-800, the 314-seat A350-900 _ which will be the first model to enter production _ and the 350-seat A350-1000.
The program was set back when Airbus had to redesign the plane after customers balked at an earlier version.
Airbus has 478 orders from 29 customers for the medium-capacity long-haul aircraft and may be hoping to take advantage of rival Boeing's problems with the 787.
Boeing last month announced a fifth set of delays for its long-haul 787 that will set back delivery for two years to 2010.
Bregier gave few details on how Airbus plans to finance the