The Straits Times
Published on Oct 23, 2012

Airbus launches assembly line for long-range A350


TOULOUSE (AFP) - Airbus inaugurated an assembly line on Tuesday for its new A350 jets, which the European manufacturer hopes will break Boeing's domination of the long-haul passenger aircraft market.

Airbus has become a symbol of European excellence and shows that "France and Europe can succeed in international competition," said French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the ceremony opening the 74,000 sq m facility outside the south-western city of Toulouse.

The A350XWB (extra wide body), which Airbus expects to begin delivering in 2014, will "allow us to capture fifty per cent of the long-haul aircraft market," said the company's chief executive Fabrice Brégier.

Airbus has dethroned Boeing in the medium-haul segment, but the American manufacturer still dominates the long-range market with its 747, 777 and new 787 Dreamliner.