Last Wednesday, Airbus delivered its 100th A350 XWB, just 30 months after the first delivery of the widebody aircraft in December 2014. The 100th aircraft delivered is an A350-900 for China Airlines.
“The 100th A350 XWB milestone comes as we reach our fastest widebody production ramp-up, on track to meet the target of 10 A350 deliveries per month by the end of 2018,” said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO and President Commercial Aircraft.
According to Airbus, the A350 has been delivered to 14 airlines worldwide and is flying with an operational reliability rate of 99 percent. To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 847 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide.
More than 50 percent of the A350 XWB’s airframe is made with composites. According to Airframer.com, more than 15 companies currently supply composites to the A350 XWB program, including Solvay/Cytec, Toray, Toho Tenax, Hexcel, Diab, Unitech Composites and Victrex. Composites reduce the need for overall fatigue and corrosion maintenance tasks while enhancing the jetliner’s overall operating efficiency.
Most of the A350 XWB’s wing is comprised of the lightweight carbon composites, including its upper and lower covers. Measuring 32 meters long by six meters wide, these are the largest single aviation parts ever made from carbon fiber.
Airbus says that the aircraft’s aerodynamic design, the use of composites and the fuel-efficient Rolls Royce engines translate into “unrivaled levels of operational efficiency,” with a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs due to increased corrosion resistance.
This 100th A350-900 delivery, the 36th so far in 2017, took place 30 months after first delivery. It is the fastest widebody production ramp-up for Airbus, and the company says it is on track to reach rate 10 aircraft per month by the end of 2018.