Airbus has allocated the full, planned 5% share of the A350 workload to Chinese companies after signing an agreement to hand over exclusive manufacturing of spoilers and droop panels on the twinjet.
The airframer has sealed a pact with Chengdu industrial aviation holding firm CAC's commercial aircraft arm, CCAC, which will be the sole supplier of the components, which will feature extensive use of carbonfibre reinforced plastic.
Joint venture Airbus (Beijing) Engineering Centre will work on the related design activity, while Austrian firm FACC will be responsible for definition of the industrial process.
Separately, Airbus has started test-flying a carbonfibre reinforced plastic fuselage panel intended to become a standard structural component of the A350, by replacing a regular aluminium fuselage section on one of its A340 test aircraft with the panel, manufactured at its facility in Nantes.
A three-week flight-test programme will assess the acoustic characteristics of the carbonfibre reinforced plastic under pressurised conditions.
The panel has been linked to microphones and its acoustic behaviour will be examined when combined with various insulation materials to enable Airbus to "fine-tune" sound insulation for the A350's cabin. The panel has an area of 15m² (160ft²).