Getting the A350 right was hugely important for Airbus, which was locked in a fierce competition for market share with the 787.
The 787 had a head start, and that lead widened when Airbus was forced to redesign the A350 after its initial design was panned by customers.
But when the 787 program ran into its own delays, Evrard and his team seized the opportunity to narrow the gap.
The A350 development track was fraught. Like the 787 program, problems with suppliers threatened to upend schedules. But Evrard stayed on top of those challenges, dispatching fix-it teams to supplier sites.
The A350 program will continue to be vetted in 2015 and 2016 as production ramps up, but its 780 firm orders attest to the aircraft’s commercial success.
The delivery capped a nearly flawless test-flight program that met its targets of flying the 1st prototype before the 2013 Paris air-show and winning certification in the Q3 of 2014.
The guiding hand behind the successful A350 XWB campaign was Didier Evrard, a veteran aerospace engineer/program manager who joined Airbus as A350 program manager in 2007, several months before the first A380 was delivered after a daunting series of delays.
His time leading programs at MBDA served him well in his new job.
On 1/Jan/2015, Evrard was promoted to executive vice president and head of all of Airbus’s civil aircraft programs.
Based on the article “Civil Aviation Laureate: Didier Evrard, Airbus’s A350 Magician” published in Aviation Week.