Final test A350's first flight moves to June

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Airbus has shifted the maiden flight date for its final A350-900 test aircraft to June, although the type is still on track for certification in the third quarter.

MSN5 is one of two A350s to feature an interior cabin layout, and will be used for route-proving flights. The aircraft was intended to join the test fleet in April, according to a schedule disclosed by Airbus in mid-2013.

Earlier this year the airframer indicated that the aircraft would fly in May. But an investor presentation released by the manufacturer states that the target date has moved to June.

By the end of March the first four aircraft in the flight-test programme had logged over 1,360h, some 55% of the planned 2,500h certification total, in close to 300 flights.

MSN1 and MSN3 – the most heavily-instrumented airframes – have accounted for over 1,200h. Airbus says the A350 is making “good progress” towards certification.

The airframer is also advancing with serial production of the type, with the first two customer aircraft – MSN6 for Qatar Airways, as well as MSN7 – in final assembly.

Airbus says entry into service remains on schedule for the fourth quarter of this year.