May 13, 2013 / 1:40 PM / 4 years ago

Airbus says A350 'progressing well' to first flight

A wing and main body section of the first Airbus A350 is seen on the final assembly line in Toulouse, southwestern France, October 23,2012.Jean-Philippe Arles

PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's newest passenger jet, the A350, is "progressing well on its route to first flight," manufacturer Airbus said on Monday.

The planemaker issued the comment after the first flyable aircraft left the paint shop in Airbus colors, ahead of final testing and a maiden flight expected in coming weeks.

The paint job indicates the flight is fast approaching, but Airbus has abandoned the traditional grand "rollout" party as it gives priority to project execution following a series of industry delays, Reuters reported last week.

The aircraft "will soon start the final tests before its maiden flight this summer," Airbus said in a statement.

Reporting by Tim Hepher

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