The entry-into-service date for the A350F, the freighter variant of the A350 XWB, has been postponed by Airbus.
“We are in the execution of the program, we are in the development phase, we are starting the initialization of the product, so we are updating constantly the planning and what we have said today reflects a slight slippage of the overall planning,” said Xavier Tardy, the interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Airbus, during the company’s Q1 2023 results presentation.
However, Tardy said that there would be no change “in the thinking of the program, just that the entry into service is now slightly pushed into the beginning of 2026”.
“It is the execution of the development program,” Tardy added.
While the company’s CFO declined to comment on the program’s specific cost or whether the delay will result in higher development costs for the A350F, Tardy noted that the new entry-into-service date would not change the company’s guidance for 2023’s Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) and Free Cash Flow (FCF).
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Early in April 2023, Airbus started producing the first A350F components, such as the vertical cruciform, a large fitting that connects the outer-wing boxes to the center wing box (CWB).
According to Airbus, in order to sustain the greater weights and containers that the A350F will haul, the CWB for the freighter version of the aircraft has to be strengthened.
The A350F was introduced in July 2021, with a 2025 start-up date.