Airbus to ramp up assembly of A350

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Airbus IS poised to increase assembly of its latest A350 model after getting off to a deliberately slow start to curb risks, the head of Airbus programmes, Didier Evrard, said.

After delivering one aircraft in December and another in the first quarter, Airbus is ready to pick up the pace by delivering about six between now and August, leaving eight more to complete to reach a target of 15 for the whole of 2015.

Airbus has said deliveries of both the A350 and the A380 superjumbo will be weighted towards the later half of this year.

Currently, the A350 assembly plant is running at different speeds as it adjusts to building the new carbon-composite jet.

Enough parts are entering the assembly line to make three aircraft a month, but deliveries are much slower. This reflects the normal process for adapting to a new product, but also a deliberate strategy to take the time needed to weed out risk, Evrard said.

“We are running quite fast at the entrance to the Final Assembly Line (FAL) but the production cycles inside the FAL are still quite slow,” Evrard said.

“So we are going to both increase the speed and reduce the cycle. In this way, aircraft will be leaving the FAL at a rate which is closer and closer to the rate at which they enter.”

The changes do not reflect an increase in the overall production target, which foresees 10 planes a month by 2018.