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Updated February 22nd, 2024 at 09:06 IST

Airbus A350 delivery to Qantas delayed due to fuel tank redesign

The delays stem from a regulatory directive requiring Airbus to overhaul an additional fuel tank, disclosed a senior executive at the Singapore Airshow.

Reported by: Business Desk
Airbus
Airbus | Image:Airbus
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Airbus A350 delivery woes: Airbus is encountering setbacks in the rollout of an ultra-long-range version of its A350-1000 aircraft, tailored for Qantas Airways' direct Sydney-London flights. 

The delays stem from a regulatory directive requiring Airbus to overhaul an additional fuel tank, disclosed a senior executive at the Singapore Airshow.

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Christian Scherer, CEO of Airbus' commercial aircraft division, elaborated that the regulatory authority mandated a redesign of the centre tank for the ultra-long-range aircraft designated for Qantas' "Project Sunrise" initiative. 

Consequently, Qantas announced a postponement of the delivery dates for its initial A350-1000 planes capable of facilitating the ultra-long-range flights, now expected by mid-2026, a delay of approximately six months.

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"The requirement to redesign the centre tank, which accommodates the extra fuel tank necessary for the Sunrise mission, accounts for the rescheduling," Scherer affirmed.

Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson attributed the delay to prolonged certification procedures for the inaugural aircraft, noting that subsequent fleet deliveries—totalling 12 aircraft—would likely proceed swiftly afterward.

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Hudson underscored persistent demand for non-stop travel, citing the success of Qantas' Perth-London routes and the introduction of new Perth-Paris services. She stressed confidence in the enduring viability of the project despite the six-month delay in aircraft delivery.

Previously, Airbus had encountered hurdles in its A321XLR long-range narrow-body programme due to regulatory concerns regarding potential fire hazards associated with a novel fuel tank design. 

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Subsequent resolutions addressed these issues, enabling progress in the programme.

(With Reuters Inputs)

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Published February 22nd, 2024 at 09:06 IST

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