In the face of the recession that has hit the airlines industry, Airbus has announced that it has begun construction on the A350 XWB final assembly line in Toulouse, with president and chief executive officer Tom Enders saying the first 'next-generation' aircraft will be ready for delivery in 2013.
When fully operational, the A350 line will be staffed with 1,000 workers. It will cost €140 million ($185.9 million) to construct, and will feature a new streamlined aircraft assembly process. This will "reduce the time from start of final assembly to delivery by 30 per cent", said chief operations officer Fabrice Bregier.
He conceded that Airbus will face unexpected problems in A350 development and manufacturing, while claiming that the manufacturer had solved earlier glitches.
Didier Evard, head of the A350 programme, said: "This plane must enter service in 2013. We have sold 478 so far, and it is out of the question that we can be late."