Airbus A350 Rolls Out of Paint Shop to Ready Test Flights

Airbus SAS’s first flyable A350 rolled out of the paint shop as engineers prepare for the maiden test flight in coming weeks.

The plane, with a blue Airbus logo and the A350 name painted onto a white fuselage, emerged from the hangar today in Saint Martin, a suburb of Toulouse in southwestern France, where Airbus also paints its wide-body A330 planes.

The European manufacturer wants to perform the first flight of the A350 later this year, and bring the wide-body aircraft into commercial service by the end of 2014. Airbus has designed the A350 to challenge Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner as well as its best-selling 777 model. Boeing recently began marketing a successor to its popular 777, whose dominance is coming under attack by the largest A350 variant.

Airbus has not planned the traditional large, public event known as a roll-out, when manufacturers invite airline customers, suppliers, government officials and the press to view the plane once it’s been painted and is on track to prepare for first flight.

Instead, the planemaker has invited only a portion of the Airbus workforce to view the plane later this evening, La Depeche du Midi reported.

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