First Flight Nears, A350 Could Make Paris Show Flypast

By Reuters

Performance tests at cruising altitude will be vital. That height is where the industry’s big jets spend most of their economically useful career of 22-23 years and fuel is the major factor in deciding whether to buy a long-range airliner.

While dedicated fuel-burn tests come later, Airbus will be looking to early flights to check the credibility of guarantees it has given on fuel consumption to the 35 customers which have already placed orders for 617 of its new twin-engined jet.

Its rival, the 787 first flown in 2009, is now returning to service after battery overheating caused a worldwide grounding and Boeing is expected to give it a big publicity push at Paris.

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