It’s getting down to crunch time on the A350 production and a top Airbus official calls the program “extremely risky,” but there is a “reasonable chance” the entry-into-service in late n2013 will still be achieved.
These are hardly characterizations that will be reassuring.
Airbus previously announced that margins in the program have largely been eaten up and that there has been some EIS slip for the A350-900 from the first half of 2013 to the second half. The database ACAS previously showed first delivery in August; now Airbus is saying late 2013, according to these news reports.
There is widespread speculation that a six month program delay could be announced immediately before the Paris Air Show, but for the moment Airbus is sticking with a 2013 EIS. Cathay Pacific’s CEO predicted a delay at a press conference this last week.
Boeing is telling everyone who will listen that it expects the A350-1000 to be delayed five years. Airbus isn’t saying much of anything about the A350 until its rescheduled press briefing (which was supposed to be May 31) to June 18, just before the air show begins.
AirInsight expects EIS for the A350-900 to slip to 2014; as of yet, we see nothing to support the Boeing contention of a five year delay on the A350-1000, though we do concur with Boeing that the airplane needs a larger engine than currently being designed by Rolls-Royce.