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Airbus’ final A350 test plane in assembly, to fly in early ‘14

Keywords: Tags  aerospace, Airbus, A350 XWB, Qatar Airways, aircraft, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — The last of three fuselage sections for the final aircraft in Airbus SAS’ A350 XWB test fleet has arrived at the company’s assembly line in Toulouse, France, where it is headquartered.

The second test aircraft to include a passenger cabin, the "MSN5" is slated to fly for the first time in the spring of 2014.

Two previously built A350 XWB test aircraft have already accumulated more than 500 hours of testing on over 100 test flights. The first delivery, to Qatar Airways, is scheduled for the second half of 2014.

Airbus has more than 760 orders for the A350, which is seen as the primary rival to Chicago-based Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner.

Meanwhile, the first group of 10 assembly employees for Airbus’ first U.S. final assembly facility in Mobile, Ala., which broke ground in April, reported for work last week. The group will train locally for two months before training for up to nine months alongside workers at Airbus’ assembly line in Hamburg, Germany. Mobile is due to begin producing Airbus’ A320-family single-aisle airliners in 2015.

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