Airbus announced yesterday it secured an order of 25 A350 XWB planes, from Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corporation (ALC).The A350 family of planes is designed to compete with the Boeing 777, its rival’s most popular plane. Still in development, the A350 XWB will be ready for its maiden flight later this year, according to Airbus.
ALC’s order is a relief after the French manufacturer did not deliver any A380s in January, according to Aviation Week.
In October, the French planemaker began working to speed up production of the A350s, putting $15 billion into an assembly factory in Toulouse, France. Boeing has sped up its assembly process as well, now building eight new planes each week.
But the outcome of the investigation into the lithium-ion battery that powers Boeing’s grounded Dreamliner could become a setback for Airbus, which plans to use lithium-ion batteries in the A350.
That investigation is moving forward slowly. Japanese officials have determined a fire in one jet was caused by a build up of heat, called thermal runaway, which badly damaged the lithium-ion battery. The cause of the high temperature is still unknown.
“Airbus will carefully study recommendations that come out of the 787 investigation and evaluate whether they apply to the A350,” Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said in January.
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