Airbus announced that its next A350 XWB, the -1000 model, has started its assembly process. It is less than a year since the first -900 was delivered to Qatar and the next model is being built. Airbus released the following images with this news.
This is the first fuselage being assembled in Hamburg.
And here is the first nose fuselage in Saint-Nazaire.
Airbus reported: The forward fuselage section has been delivered by Premium Aerotec to Airbus in Hamburg where it will be equipped before being flown to Saint-Nazaire on board the Beluga. The nose fuselage section has been delivered by Stelia Aerospace to Airbus in Saint-Nazaire for assembly and equipping. The forward and nose fuselage sections will then be joined together in Saint-Nazaire to form the front fuselage which will then be flown by Beluga to the A350 XWB Final Assembly Line in Toulouse.
Assembly of the first A350-1000 wings got underway in August this year at Airbus in Broughton and final assembly of the aircraft will begin in Toulouse early 2016, followed by the first flight second half 2016. First deliveries are scheduled to start mid-2017.
Orders for the A350-1000 stand at 169 firm orders from 9 customers. Total orders for the A350 XWB program stand at 782 orders from 40 customers.
Meanwhile the engine for the -1000 has also arrived for testing. This powerplant, Airbus advises, is scheduled to fly in the near future on the A380 MSN001 (F-WWOW) flying-test-bed.
This Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 is the sixth version of the Trent family. It is also the highest-thrust production engine ever made by Rolls at 97K LBS and has a 118 inch diameter. The engine has been ground tested to 99K LBS. Rolls says the -97 engine has 13K pounds more thrust with the same fuel efficiency, with the fan turning 6% faster than with the -84 (on the A350-900) to get a higher volume throughput. The core of the engine is scaled up by 5% over the -84 and has unshrouded HPT blades. In addition the -97 has 80% line replaceable units in common among XWB engines.
Originally the plan was to do the test flights in early 2016, but it looks like this might happen before year end now. EIS for the -1000 is 2017. If indeed the engine flight tests start this year and the 2016 flight tests go as well the -900, then EIS in 2017 looks secure.