Airbus A350 to make maiden flight on Friday

TOULOUSE, France (AFP) - French aircraft maker Airbus on Tuesday said its new long-haul carrier, the A350, is scheduled to make its maiden flight on Friday after having successfully passed a series of tests.

The company said in a statement the flight would take place at 0800 GMT at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport in south-western France, "weather conditions permitting." Flight test teams were however carrying out a final round of controls before giving "their final green light".

Airbus hopes the 314-seater will compete with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner by being both lighter and more fuel-efficient than previous models.

The first deliveries of A350s to airlines are scheduled for the second half of 2014. So far, Airbus has received 613 firm orders for the aircraft.