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March 4, 2024
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Despite the ongoing issues related to Zodiac cabins, Airbus seems to have gotten its hands around the A350 program and is making steady progress.  Take a look at the chart, which lists the average number of test flights per delivery.  The average seems to have settled at about four.  This is a 66% improvement and demonstrates rapid movement down the learning curve. Data source is A350 Production, which is not an official Airbus source.

Next, let’s look at the combination of test flights and days to delivery.  In the left chart, we can see that not every airline is seeing the same level of progress.  Qatar is doing much better but is probably not (no surprise) at the level it wants.  Probably a similar story for Finnair, while Vietnam seems on a distinct trend of improvement.  The test flights prior to delivery certainly seem to be heading towards stability even with some hiccups along the way.

On the right side chart, we can see the number of days between first flight and delivery.  Here we can see another example of a learning curve improvement.   Vietnam seems to be the most successful.  Qatar and Finnair are the most dramatic.  LATAM seems to be struggling and it is important to note that two of its aircraft have been leased to Qatar.

Finally, the table summarizes the two key numbers we are able to track and use as a proxy to see how things are progressing.  We would suggest that the numbers indicate Airbus is indeed getting the A350 program stabilized.  This is likely to be a story we hear somethign about at PAS in the next few weeks.

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Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.

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