Nick Cunningham, an analyst at Agency Partners in London who has followed the aviation industry for 30 years, said Airbus has “played it straight” with the A350 program in not announcing milestones before they’re genuinely achievable.
“Having the A350 fly by the Paris air show would be great from a prestige point of view,” he said. “But they’ll only do it if they’re really comfortable. They’re not going to be pushed.”
“The biggest lessons we can draw from the past is that we need to move from one step to the other on these big programs, without rushing,” Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said at last summer’s Farnborough show.
EADS CFO Harald Wilhelm called some weeks ago the A350 program “challenging”, an attribute the company has used in the past to describe the project. Still, the company is more confident of a first flight by this “summer.” “The important thing is that it’s a mature first flight,” Wilhelm said on a call to discuss EADS’s first-quarter earnings.
EADS CEO Tom Enders said in a shareholders' meeting in Amsterdam last week that the project to A350 XWB remained challenging; "Intense preparations are under way for the first flight and I am quite confident this will take place (in line with) a conservative forecast in the summer; a more courageous version is in some weeks."
“We’ll do it when we’re ready to do it,” was John Leahy’s response. “We are not going to fall victim like Boeing did with the 787 [by tying themselves into a date before they are ready].
Based on the article “EADS hikes Airbus order goal, A350 to fly in weeks” published in Reuters.