A350 First Flight: We'll Do It When We're Ready, Says Leahy


These photo of the first engine run of MSN001 on Sunday sparked excitement amongst the industry here in Cape Town on the eve of the IATA annual general assembly, with lots of chatter speculating whether the A350-900 will fly over Le Bourget during the Paris air show in two weeks.

Will they or won’t they do it? “We’ll do it when we’re ready to do it,” was John Leahy’s response to that question today. “We are not going to fall victim like Boeing did with the 787 [by tying themselves into a date before they are ready].

So maybe it will fly during the air show, maybe it won’t. 

And if the real thing doesn't make an appearance, showgoers can still experience the "full life size A350 cockpit and cabin section" that Airbus is bringing to Le Bourget.    

Separately, responding to critical comments made by Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz about the trend for overdesigned aircraft, brought about by demand from Gulf carriers, Leahy says: “Christoph is right. If you design an airplane that way, you’re going to have more takeoff weight and more thrust than you need.” But he argues that with the A350-1000, Airbus “didn’t push the envelope too far.” The new widebody was designed to replace the Boeing 777-300ER, but make it more fuel-efficient. 

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