According to Bloomberg News, “Airbus Group NV (AIR)’s A350 jet landed at the company’s Toulouse base in southern France last night to end 14 months of trials that pave the way for the new model’s certification and first delivery later this year.”The end of the trials now puts Airbus in direct competition with Boeing and its own 787 Dreamliner that features the same capacity opportunities. The rivalry begins with Qatar Airways’ 80-plane order from Airbus.
The 315-passenger aircraft can travel up to 7,750 nautical miles and is already slated for over 700 total deliveries to more than 38 customers.
A report by the Wall Street Journal states, “For Airbus, the focus now shifts to demonstrating it can build the jets without the missteps that had derailed the A380 superjumbo. Producing the double-decker proved more difficult than expected, causing massive delays and cost overruns.”
Regardless of the A380 double-decker setbacks, Airbus moved forward confidently with the 350, investing more than $15 billion in its development and manufacturing.
Despite the advances, Forbes notes, “Through July this year, Boeing has mopped up orders for 833 commercial airplanes, compared to 705 orders received by Airbus. The launch of wide-body 777X by Boeing late last year has given a boost to its order tally this year. On the other hand, Airbus has had to suffer from a large order cancellation for its A350 from Emirates.”
For 2013, Airbus managed just 148 more orders than Boeing; however, Boeing has cornered the market on wide-body planes. In recent years, Airbus has been more popular for its narrower design.
The first Airbus wide-body A350 delivery is scheduled for later this year. In the meantime, the European aircraft manufacturer is tasked with transitioning from prototype development to full-scale production. The company hopes to churn out 10 models per month by 2018.