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Airbus A350 unveiled in Singapore

Airbus A350 unveiled in Singapore
11 Feb 2014

The A350, Airbus' newest airliner, has made its public debut at the Singapore Airshow. 

From 11 to 12 February, the widebody craft will take part in air displays and be parked on the tarmac for visitors to inspect. 

The fuel efficient rival to Boeing's Dreamliner is currently in the advanced phase of its flight test programme and is expected to enter commercial service in the latter part of 2014. 

With much of the plane made using carbon fibre, Airbus expects it to be 25% more fuel efficient than the previous generation - making it a tempting prospect for long-haul airlines looking to reduce fuel costs, which make a considerable contribution towards ticket prices.

Speaking ahead of the show, Fabrice Bregier, Airbus' chief executive, said: 'I am very pleased ... that we will bring the A350 XWB to Singapore.

'The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing market for the air transport industry and will drive future demand for widebody aircraft in all seat categories.'

He added: 'The A350 XWB will set new standards in the mid-size category.'

As of 23 January, 812 of the new planes had been ordered by 39 customers worldwide, 244, or 30% of which have come from Asia-Pacific. 

Customers in the region include AirAsia X, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Srilankan Airlines, Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines.

Airbus will be hoping that when it launches the A350 it does not encounter the same kind of teething problems which have been encountered by Boeing since it put the Dreamliner into service in 2009. 

After a number of minor incidents, the entire Japanese fleet of Dreamliners was temporarily grounded early last year due to battery problems. 

However, the issues were played down by Boeing chief executive James McNermey during an interview on  CNBC.

'I think we're having what we would consider the normal number of squawks on a new airplane consistent with other new airplanes we've introduced,' he said. ADNFCR-408-ID-801692442-ADNFCR

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