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Airbus Completes First A350 Structure as Aircraft Starts Testing

Airbus SAS said its first flyable A350 XWB is now structurally complete and was rolled out of the main assembly hall in Toulouse in southern France for tests ahead of the planned premiere flight in the middle of next year.

The aircraft has already undergone a power-on of its fuselage and wings, and the next tests will include the hydraulic systems by the end of the year, Airbus said in a statement. The company showed a photo of the aircraft outside a factory hall, with the wings still lacking the engines.

Airbus expects entry into service of its A350 by late 2014. The first model to be produced will be the mid-sized A350-900, seating 314 and operating first with Qatar Airlines. Airbus plans to bring out the smaller, A350-800 variant in 2016, following by the largest of the series, the A350-1000. The aircraft is made largely of lighter composite materials.

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