On Friday 23 December Airbus delivered the first fuselage component for the new A350XWB to its facility in Toulouse, France. Assembly of the first A350 will be early next year and will be used solely for testing of systems and structures. The first A350 will never feel the wind beneath her wings. This airframe (#MSN 5000) will be used to verify all of the engineering that took place on computers prior to the manufacture of the aircraft. The first actual airframe that will be flight tested will be MSN1 which will begin final assembly in the 2nd quarter of 2012.
Airbus currently has firm orders for 567 of the A350 which is available in -800, -900 and -1000 variants.
The launch airline, Qatar Airways is planning to put the A350 into service sometime during middle of 2014.
Below are photos of the airframe being delivered to the Toulouse assembly facility (Courtesy of Airbus):