First flight of Airbus A350 XWB set for Friday morning

Airbus' first completed A350 XWB is unveiled with a full paint-job in Toulouse, France on May 13.

Story highlights

  • Airbus unveils the first A350XWB in Toulouse, France
  • Aviation geeks can check out the inaugural take-off live online
  • A350 XWB is designed to rival Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and 777s

Airbus has confirmed that the first flight of its long-awaited A350 XWB is set for the morning of June 14, 2013, weather permitting.

According to the European aircraft maker, the "MSN1" flight-test aircraft will take off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport at around 10 a.m. local time (8 a.m. GMT).

Airbus has set up a website, www.a350xwbfirstflight.com, for those who want to watch the A350's inaugural flight live online. It will also be broadcast live on Airbus' YouTube page.

Today's launch is in line with speculation among aviation professionals that Airbus is planning to show off its new plane at the upcoming Paris Air Show, a rumor the company has yet to confirm.

The A350 XWB is the first in a family of super-efficient passenger planes Airbus designed to go head-to-head with rival Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and 777s.

"XWB" means "extra wide body." There are three members in the A350 family: the A350-800, the A350-900 and the A350-1000, which seat 270, 314 and 350 passengers respectively, in three-class seating.

The plane was unveiled last month at Airbus HQ in Toulouse, France. Today's flight is the latest milestone in what has been a turbulent production history for the A350 program, which was first announced in 2006.

For more on the A350, check out these CNN reports:

- Airbus rolls out new A350 XWB

- First look at the A350: What's all the fuss about?