Before flying, the A350 must pass a series of ground tests.
"No machine as complex can be perfect straight away," said Claude Lelaie, who took the A380 on its maiden flight in April/2005.
The timing of the equivalent first flight for the A350 will depend in part on when Lelaie's successors in the flight team agree to take the aircraft from the developers.
That is a decision not even top managers can impose on the elite corps of pilots and flight test engineers who, with their own lives at stake, have final say over whether to accept delivery of the jet, just as though they were outside customers.
"It is another world. Flight Test Pilots do not think about shows. They fly when they are ready," said an industry executive.
The A380 debut was delayed when crew rejected the double-decker plane until a landing-gear problem had been addressed.
In a book last year, Lelaie described how a year of flight testing on the A380 was complicated by mistrust between pilots and management. Analysts say such tensions have eased, however.
The handover to test crews could be near the end of May and a maiden flight two weeks later, but the schedule is tight.
Based on the article “First flight nears, A350 could make Paris show flyby” published by Reuters