Paint job but no 'rollout' party for newest Airbus jet

Wed May 8, 2013 11:46am EDT
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* A350 reaches Airbus paint shop as development progresses

* Maiden flight expected in late June or early July

* Airbus eschews traditional rollout for its newest jet

* Analysts pore over details of 787 competitor's debut

By Tim Hepher

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Airbus has started painting the A350, 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.

Eight years after European leaders witnessed a spectacle worthy of stadium opera to launch the A380 superjumbo, Europe's latest aeronautical venture will prepare to leave the nest with less fanfare in an industry sobered by delays and technical mishaps.

The first coat of paint in Airbus livery should be ready on the A350 next week, people familiar with the project say.

After that, the high-tech carbon-composite jet will be all dressed up with nowhere to go until the first flight, which most industry sources expect in late June or early July.   Continued...