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Analyst: Airbus A350 program delay not unexpected

EADS announcement yesterday of a delay on its new Airbus A350 XWB program was expected, Cowen and Co. analyst Cai von Rumohr wrote in an investor report today.

But it sounds like delays on Spirit AeroSystems’ work on the program is abating, he wrote.

On Thursday, EADS announced up to a six-month delay on the A350, saying its  expected entry-into-service now has been moved to the first half of 2014. The company cited a lack of maturity on the program.

EADS has halted delivery of parts to final assembly, which shifts the initial build of the first A350 into 2012, von Rumohr wrote.

The delay allows Airbus facilities and suppliers who are behind in development to reach “a greater level of maturity,” von Rumohr wrote.

EADS didn’t provide details on the problems, but according to a report by Flightblogger, A350 program chief Didier Evrard indicated the program is affected by work on the aircraft’s center fuselage and fixed trailing edge, built by Spirit AeroSystems and GKN, respectively, von Rumohr noted.

Spirit, in a conference call earlier this year, said it was experiencing “schedule compression” from late delivery of final engineering plans from EADS.

Spirit delivered the panels for the upper shell of the center fuselage last month to its Saint-Nazaire, France, facility. The lower shell panels are to ship before the end of the year. Spirit will perform the final assembly on the section in France before delivering it to an Airbus facility nearby.

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