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Airbus Set To Win A350 Certification

Airbus looks set to win European safety certification for the A350 on Tuesday, people familiar with the plans said.

The stamp of approval will allow the wide-body airliner to enter service once the first production model has been tested and delivered to launch customer Qatar Airways, which the companies expect to happen in the fourth quarter.

The 300-350 seat A350 was developed at an estimated cost of USD$15 billion to compete with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Both use a carbon-composite design to save weight and cut fuel costs.

The A350 is also expected to compete with Boeing's larger 777 when a new version comes out later in the decade.

After more than year of flight trials, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration are expected to give their approvals simultaneously, but without the glitzy celebrations which marked the certification of the A380 in 2006.

Airbus officials said last week the certification could take place in coming days. The company declined further comment.

Airbus had set a September target for the first flight of its upgraded A320neo, which took place on Thursday, and for the certification of the A350.