Airbus - First flight of the A350 XWB

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The first flight of the new Airbus A350 XWB, on 14 June 2013, was widely hailed at this year’s Salon du Bourget air show. The Sopra Steria Aeroline  teams played an active role in this success. Their contribution included assisting with the on-board computing system, the flight-tests for the new  engines, digital simulations, technical documentation.

Context and challenges

The A350 XWB is a particularly innovative aircraft,  especially with regard to the consideration of  environmental and economic concerns. With half  of the structure formed of composite material, this  particularly lightweight aeroplane will post a lower fuel  consumption, thus meeting the expectations of airlines.

Sopra Steria added value

More than 400 Sopra Steria employees assisted  Airbus in several projects relating to the A350 XWB


 (Scientific, Technical, Industrial and on-board Engineering)

This team was involved with:

  • The on-board computing systems. Sopra Steria developed a selection of on-board software applications, in particular the aircraft’s secondary flight controls.
  • The preparation and monitoring of the flight tests for the new engines. The A350 XWB is equipped with a new generation of Rolls Royce engines. Highly specific test campaigns had to be conducted in order to verify their reliability. Acting as an operator in the control room during the first flight, in direct communication with the pilots, Sopra Steria played a very active role in these tests.
  • The development of tools for the processing of flight test data. The processing of this considerable volume of data requires specific tools, which had to be developed.
  • Digital simulations of the systems. Even though the systems are still undergoing development, these enable the simulation of their behaviour when altering various parameters. The development of the entire system thus progresses by means of successive validations, leading to the overall finalisation.
  • The development and adaptation of specific tools, design methods and processes with certification. Sopra Steria thus assisted a team of more than 2,000 designers at the Airbus design office.

AEROLINE SIG TEAM (Information & Management Systems)

For its part, a second team provided important associated services:

  • The aircraft technical documentation, mandatory prior to the delivery of any aircraft to a customer.
  • Associated services such as training, the publication of the progress of the production schedules, incident monitoring, maintenance… have also undergone developments.
For 2 years, Sopra Steria engineers in France and India  had contributed to the integration of the new functions  of the A350 into the existing information systems.

Customer benefits

  • Benefit from the support of a multi-disciplinary partner, assisting Airbus with its large-scale projects
  • Optimise the costs of development thanks to the support of Sopra Steria’s offshore teams
  • Realise scheduling objectives: 1st flight in June 2013
Our Aeroline teams cover a wide range of technical and operational skills. This rich potential, reinforced by a high level of motivation, contributes to our preoccupation with always remaining as close as possible to our various internal customers at Airbus. As such, we have put in place suitable mechanisms, including our Indian teams, in order to respond to the challenges posed by all of the projects that are assigned to us. Furthermore, our increase in value has enabled us to get involved upstream, increasing the customer’s understanding of our profession. It is the group as a whole that must be acknowledged regarding this success, and thus we will continue forwards, strengthened by this identity and the trust that Airbus places in us.


member of the Sopra Steria COMEX and Director of Aeroline