Airbus A350 Makes Successful Maiden Flight

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The eagerly awaited Airbus A350 made a successful maiden flight early on Friday as the aircraft maker looks to increase the pressure on rival Boeing ( BA).

Thousands of people watched the A350 XWB take off on its four-hour flight from the Toulouse-Blagnac airport in France, according to media reports. The aircraft landed at 8:06 a.m. EDT to massive applause from the watching crowds.

With the Paris Airshow kicking off next week, Airbus is keen to grab the spotlight for its new wide-body long-haul aircraft, which is up against Boeing's Dreamliner 787. The inaugural A350 flight was livestreamed by Airbus.

There has been plenty of buzz recently that the A350 will make an appearance at the massive Paris airshow. Airbus, however, is still testing the A350, and the manufacturer said on Friday that it "remains to be seen" whether the aircraft will be at the Paris event.

Boeing has said that its featured products at the Paris Airshow will be two 787s. The move represents a show of confidence by the Seattle-based manufacturer after the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the aircraft for four months earlier this year, due to the danger of battery fires. Flights resumed May 20.

The aircraft giant is also expected to launch its 787-10, which is a stretched 787, and also announce commitments for the 777X, providing options for either more capacity or more range than is offered by the existing 777-300ER.

Boeing shares crept up 0.26% to $102.43 shortly after market open on Friday.

With the aviation industry preparing to enter one of its busiest times of the year, American Airlines ( AAMRQ.PK) revealed earlier this week that it wants to add seats to its Boeing 737 and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 fleets, according to published media reports.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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