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Airbus To Deliver First A350 Mid-December

Airbus aims to deliver the first A350 to launch customer Qatar Airways by mid-December, according to the airline.

Gulf News quoted Qatar's chief executive Akbar Al Baker as saying the mid-sized jet would be delivered between December 12 and 15.

"Everything is perfect," Al Baker said, according to the newspaper.

The A350, Airbus's newest plane and made with a carbon composite fuselage, is a direct competitor to Boeing's composite 787 Dreamliner.

The long-range, twin-aisle A350, received its certification by the US Federal Aviation Administration last week, after getting European safety approval in September.

The version of the jet certified by the FAA and European regulators, the A350-900, is designed to seat 314 passengers.

Airbus has booked 750 orders for the A350, including 549 for the A350-900 and 169 for the larger A350-1000, which is due to enter service in 2017. The smaller A350-800 has 32 orders but is likely to be phased out to make way for the upgraded A330neo.

Airbus is planning a steep production increase, aiming to build three A350s per month by year-end, up from two a month currently. By the end of next year it plans to build five a month and to hit 10 a month by mid-2018.

(Reuters)