Airbus’s move to use A380 flightdeck will push back entry-into-service until  2011 – three years behind Boeing’s 787

Airbus’s late decision to graft the A380 ultra-large airliner’s cockpit onto its new A350 has contributed to a further slip in the long-range twinjet’s development schedule of at least six months.

Airbus A350 cockpit W445
© Airbus / Passion Graphic

Airbus has decided to adopt the A380 flightdeck for its new twinjet


The European manufacturer previously stated that the baseline A350-800 was targeted for a mid-2010 entry into service (EIS). However while presenting the new cockpit configuration at last week’s Asian Aerospace show in Singapore, Airbus chief operating officer – customers John Leahy referred to an EIS date of 2011, signalling that the aircraft’s availability has slipped further behind that of its direct competitor, the Boeing 787, which has a scheduled EIS of mid-2008.

Airbus sources said the decision to switch from the previous plan of equipping the A350 with an enhanced version of the A330’s flight deck was not reached for several months due to the complexity of the changes required, including the adoption of the A380’s onboard information system architecture.

The recent decision to re-profile the A350’s nose section to make room for an under-floor crew rest area is believed to have made it more feasible to incorporate the A380’s avionics. Although the hardware is identical to that used on the A380, the A350’s cockpit dimensions are slightly different.

Leahy says the A350 will retain a common type rating with the A330 despite the introduction of the A380 cockpit.


Source: Flight International