EADS 350…where are you?

EADS is acknowledging a long-expected delay in the A350XWB in-service date, although it still hopes to hand the first aircraft to customers in 2013.

In its third quarter results, the company says the A350XWB entry into service is now planned in for the second half of 2013. Previously, the company had variously said it was mid-2013 or, as EADS CEO Louis Gallois put it first customer delivery is planned for July 2013.

In the third quarter results presentation given by EADS CFO Hans-Peter Ring signals the new H2 2013 guidance for 2013 does acknowledge a delay. “We are more cautious,” he says, but adds that the date is no longer July. “It will be a bit later,” he says.

The transition phase from design to manufacture is more complex than thought, Ring says. And, he adds, the company is taking its time because it wants to make sure it starts production on a solid base. In effect, Airbus appears to be trying to avoid problems Boeing has seen on the 787, where production was well underway while the design was still maturing.

Ring says, though, that the delay for the A350 in-service date so far should be attained “without a significant financial impact.”

Development of the program remains “challenging” he says.

Airbus officials have been reluctant to set a new A350 delivery schedule to keep pressure on the development team to stay as close to plan as possible.

The company has booked 558 orders for the new twin-widebody.

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