Airbus started assembly of the first A350 XWB’s horizontal tailplane (HTP) in Getafe. The joining of the two lateral boxes will produce the 17 meter span primary structure of the HTP.  Structural assembly will continue over the coming weeks, followed by the installation of the unit’s electric and hydraulic systems. Once the assembly and equipping work is finished, the HTP will be flown by Airbus’ Beluga transport aircraft to the Final Assembly Line in Toulouse.

It is very interesting to see how Airbus is making A350 announcements – they release something every time there’s another step in the A350 program. Pictures and short PR keeps the news flowing and the A350 news bubbling to the top of industry news. This is very clever because it demonstrates progress on a regular basis. It may also be part of an attempt to hush the program delay noise.

Which could work provided Airbus does not have any program slippage.  Remember when Boeing gave regular 787 program updates? Then suddenly they stopped because there was no good news and the questions became pretty pointed and nasty. One hopes Airbus will not create a similar situation where expectations are not met. It’s a gamble and one would hope that, post A380, Airbus will not fumble this program.  It looks good, so far.

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