Airbus today publicized the first official photo of a customer A350-900, just two days after its certification. It is Qatar Airways first A350-900, production number MSN006, which is towed between the different finishing stations at Toulouse.
What is left to do is finishing off the interior, then ground tests and flight tests. The finishing of the interior to Qatar’s standards can be a painstaking process, especially as this is the first time that their interior (which surly has several items which you don’t find in Airbus normal A350 interior catalog) is build together in the aircraft.
Fitting a customer interior for the first time is something which is time-consuming as one is at the same time collecting every bit of feedback for possible adjustments of the fittings, seats etc for later builds. Making it for Qatar makes this even more delicate, they are perfectionists when it comes to the interior finish. Parts that don’t fit perfectly or have surface faults will be removed and go into an adjustment process, everything being painstakingly documented to quickly come down the learning curve. We can be sure Airbus and Qatar’s interior teams and B/E Aerospace (who as far as we know makes the premium seats) are working long days in the weeks ahead (and has done so for some time). The interior of MSN005, the rout proving aircraft with a standard Airbus catalog interior, took two and a half months in the interior stations, this aircraft has been in these stations for different interior fittings since May and will continue for some further weeks.
Qatar will receive the first eight A350 off the production line with production numbers MSN006 to MSN013. One can expect the first batch of eight Qatar A350 to have been delivered before third quarter next year. Then follows Vietnam Airlines with four aircraft and then Finnair with three. This time next year we should have seen Singapore Airlines livery as well and if things are running well Cathay Pacific’s.
By Leeham Co EU