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Airbus reaches milestone on A350

Keywords: Tags  aerospace, Airbus A350, Boeing 787, Dreamliner, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Aircraft manufacturer Airbus SAS has completed the structural assembly and system connections for the first flight-test version of its new A350 Extra Wide Body (XWB) airliner.

The work, which was performed at the A350’s final assembly line in Toulouse, France, included electrical "power-on" of the plane’s entire fuselage and wings. Testing of the hydraulic system is due to begin soon, followed by full electric and hydraulic power-on of the aircraft, which is expected around the end of the month, and then further tests before installation of its engines. Its first test flight is expected in mid-2013.

Initial delivery of the A350, viewed as a competitor to Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner, has been slated for late 2013 but speculation is building that it might not happen until the following year. The first 787 was delivered last year.

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