A350 schedule slips but Airbus still aiming for 2013 entry

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Airbus has admitted to a schedule slip on its A350 twin-jet but is still expecting entry into service in the second half of 2013.

In an update on the programme, during EADS' third-quarter results release, chief financial officer Hans Peter Ring said the programme was being delayed in order to ensure a "more solid" base for manufacturing.

He says the "major reason" for the slip is that the "transition phase from design to manufacturing is a bit longer".

Ring says the airframer is being "more cautious" and wants to be "transparent" about the process. He says that the A350 programme has "challenges" which "have to be managed".

While the original entry into service would have been in the early part of the second half of 2013, Ring says that the envisaged date would be "a bit later".

But he remains confident that the airframer is "more or less sticking to the programme".

Airbus states that it is "considering" service entry during the second half of 2013, adding: "At this stage [we] would expect to manage this without significant financial impact."

Production on the type is "moving forward", it says, with manufacturing under way on components including the centre wing box, upper and lower wing covers and the recent opening of a landing-gear test facility.

By the end of October this year Airbus had secured orders for 573 of the type, including 340 A350-900s, 158 A350-800s, and 75 A350-1000s.