Final assembly of the first Airbus A350-900 for Japan Airlines (JAL) has started and the aircraft is now beginning to take shape at the manufacturer’s Toulouse facility.
Company engineers have completed the wing-to-fuselage join and the installation of the vertical and horizontal tailplane. The airframe will be moved to the next assembly station where the final structural work will be finished and to be followed by the ground testing of all mechanical, electrical and avionics systems. Next the aircraft will be moved to the flight test department where final checks will be made prior to the jet making its maiden flight.
JAL placed an order for 31 A350 XWBs (18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s) plus options for 25 further examples on October 7, 2013 in a deal valued at $9.5bn. This is also the Japanese carrier’s first ever order for Airbus aircraft. The maiden A350-900 is set to be handed over mid-year and will be joined by three further examples by the end of 2019. The remaining 14 -900s from the order are due for delivery between 2020 and 2023, with the first of the 13 larger -1000 variant due in 2021.
The Japanese carrier has revealed the type will enter revenue service on major domestic routes starting with Tokyo/Haneda to Fukuoka from September and will later transfer to international services replacing older generation widebody types.