Airbus has started painting the A350 XWB, a sign it is approaching a maiden flight, but has bowed to the industry's increasingly pragmatic mood by deciding against a traditional "rollout" for its newest jet.
The A350 XWB will prepare to leave the nest with less fanfare than the A380 eight years ago in an industry sobered by delays and technical mishaps. The first coat of paint in Airbus livery will be ready next week, people familiar with the project say.
The lack of pomp reflects growing emphasis on project "execution" after Airbus, Boeing and other manufacturers endured multiple delays and problems culminating in the 3-month grounding of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner earlier this year.
Asked recently whether Airbus would hold an A350 rollout ceremony, Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said, "Probably not. We'll go straight to our first flight."
"The rollout concept perhaps became a bit devalued by the presentation of an empty 787 with the wrong fasteners and no cockpit," said Agency Partners analyst Nick Cunningham.
"Historically, rollouts have been a great way of raising the profile of a new airliner. But it is understandable if Airbus feels that a first flight event can serve that purpose more effectively," said Andrew Doyle, Editor of Flight Daily News.
Based on the article “Paint job but no 'rollout' party for newest Airbus jet” published in Reuters