Airbus has commenced work on all three development aircraft for the A350-1000 test campaign, as it expects to begin final assembly in the first quarter of next year.
Head of A350 programme developments Bruno Hernandez says that the -1000 is â€œon trackâ€ but acknowledges that bringing the components together to meet the final assembly schedule is â€œvery challengingâ€.
Work is under way on the centre wing-box, he says, not only for the first development aircraft but also the second and third.
The rear spar, supplied by GKN Aerospace, entered assembly on 12 May.
Speaking during a briefing in Toulouse, Hernandez said US firm Spirit AeroSystems had begun manufacturing panels for the central section 15.
Assembly of the forward fuselage section 13-14 door surrounds â€“ which will be composite, rather than the -900â€™s metallic ones â€“ is also progressing, he says: â€œ[This] concept is fully mature.â€
Hernandez says structural design maturity has been achieved and systems installation architecture is complete, adding that -1000 production work has started â€œin all the plantsâ€.
Pylon assembly is under way while the typeâ€™s Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 powerplant will begin a 120h test campaign on the A380 in October.
The aircraft, while essentially a stretch of the -900, will incorporate a number of aerodynamic and structural differences â€“ including a six-wheel main landing-gear and a larger trailing edge.
It will also have several other enhancements including greater use of composites in the fuselage frames and pylon, and electric landing-gear doors.
Airbusâ€™s latest specification data lists the -1000 as a 366-seat aircraft with a range of 7.950nm