The Airbus A350: Countdown to Delivery

The long-awaited Airbus jet is now nearing its entrance into two major airline fleets.

Aug 24, 2014 at 8:45PM

With airlines always looking for the latest technology to attract customers and improve fuel efficiency, the rivalry between Airbus Group (NASDAQOTH:EADSY) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) continues as a premier tech competition.

Boeing grabbed the spotlight with the launch of its 787 Dreamliner but Airbus is now ready to strike back with the A350 and its iterations aimed at the Boeing 777 and 787.

Tour complete
Prior to delivery, Airbus had to prove that the A350 was up for the challenge of long distance flight. To do this, Airbus sent the A350 on a three week tour of 14 cities around the world with the plane returning home to Toulouse, France, several days ago.

With the tour portion complete, Airbus can now gear up for the first deliveries of its latest aircraft.

Customers and deliveries
Airbus currently has 742 orders for the A350 and expects to begin deliveries by the end of this year. As a major customer for the aircraft, Qatar Airways will be the launch customer with plans to eventually take delivery of 80 Airbus A350 aircraft.

A

Airbus A350; source: Airbus

Despite Qatar Airways' CEO slamming both Airbus and Boeing at the Farnborough Air Show over quality and delays, the delivery of the A350 aircraft is expected to go ahead as planned over the course of several years.

Qatar Airways is not the only airline excited about the A350. Finnair, the first European airline receiving the A350, is also preparing to welcome the Airbus A350 into its fleet for both passenger comfort and range flexibility. One of the selling points of the A350 has been its range of over 14,000 kilometers allowing airlines to fly long distance routes and be competitive with the Boeing 777. For Finnair, range does matter since its Asian routes could soon be lengthened if Russia follows through with its threat to close Siberian skies to European aircraft.

Not surprisingly, the first routes Finnair plans to use the A350 for are flights to Beijing, Bangkok, and Shanghai, with flights to Hong Kong and Singapore to begin in 2016. USA Today notes that Finnair has unveiled the interiors of its A350 aircraft which feature lie-flat business class seats, Economy Comfort seats, and standard economy seats; a fairly standard arrangement on today's long distance aircraft.

Overcoming issues
Among the goals Airbus has for the A350 is for it to avoid the delays seen at Boeing in the development of its 787 Dreamliner. Although the A350 has seen about a year and a half of delays, it still expects to have fewer delays than the rival 787. With the tour test successfully completed, Airbus is one step closer to meeting the goal of delivering the first A350 by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, the A350 was also in the news but for an event that shook Airbus and sent its stock lower. The Emirates cancellation of an order for 70 Airbus A350 aircraft made investors question the quality of aircraft orders at Airbus and to some extent at Boeing as well.

Both the delays and cancellations issues are still worth monitoring but are likely to play less of a role once Airbus can begin deliveries and the A350 moves from a technical development challenge to a production based one.

Production increase
Bloomberg notes that Airbus is targeting profitability for the A350 program before the end of the decade. To do this, Airbus plans to increase production to fill the orders it already has. Among the ways Airbus hopes to increase production is through the use of faster carbon component manufacturing; something that could go a long way in an aircraft comprised 53% of composite material.

Nearing a milestone
It's been seven years since Airbus last delivered an all new passenger jet but the company appears to be within months of delivering its first A350 to Qatar Airways and then to Finnair the following year.

But the challenges are not over yet. The deliveries still need to begin and production needs to be increased to fill orders at a faster rate. However, one thing is certain: This is definitely something for aerospace followers and investors to keep an eye on as the competition between Boeing and Airbus continues.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Alexander MacLennan has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers