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Airbus not shifting to all-composite barrel for A350

Airbus does not intend to make changes to the fundamental fuselage design of its A350XWB, the company’s chief commercial officer customers John Leahy said today.

Discounting a report that Airbus is preparing to shift to an all-composite barrel, Leahy stressed that the fuselage design is frozen. “We have the A350-800, -900 and -1000,” he notes.

Airbus is issuing performance guarantees and delivery dates to customers, and taking deposits. This proves that the A350XWB “is a fully launched programme”, adds Leahy.

Official system design freeze on the A350XWB is due to be reached in October next year.

Entry into service – with launch customer Qatar Airways - is planned for mid-2013. Qatar today signed a memorandum of agreement to buy 80 A350XWB twin-jets, including the largest version, the A350-1000.

Speculation is rife that Qatar has also signed a deal for 30 Boeing 787s. “I don’t want to get into what they [Qatar] do with the rest of their fleet plan. I would always think it’s better if they go all Airbus,” says Leahy.

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