Troubled European plane-making company Airbus has finally unveiled details of a revised mid-sized airliner it hopes will challenge the increasing success of American arch-rival Boeing.
But new Airbus chief Christian Streiff yesterday admitted he would not be giving the go-ahead for the new A350 XWB for another three months.
He also said that Airbus, which employs 13,000 people in the UK, was in the middle of a "serious crisis" in relation to its customers.
Mr Streiff said the company, which is 20 per cent UKowned and which has experienced delivery delays on in its 555-seater A380 superjumbo, was "learning to be humble and learning to change our bad habits".
Just two weeks into the job, following the resignation of two top Airbus bosses, Mr Streiff said he had called for a complete overhaul of Airbus practices and a review of the Toulouse-based company's supply chain management.
The A350 launch has been delayed and the plane will go up against Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner.
Mr Streiff said that the new name XWB, which has been added to the plane, stood for extra-wide bodied as well as extra comfort and extra efficiency.
He said the plane had been entirely newly designed following an eight-month review in response to airline complaints. Mr Streiff said he wanted to wait 100 days "before pushing the button on the (plane's) industrial launch" which would now be in the early days of October.
He added that there was no change to the entry into service date for the A350, which is mid-2012.
Airbus said the A350 XWB would come in three versions - an 800 series for 270 passengers, a 900 for 314 passengers and a 1,000 with a capacity of 350. Engines for the new aircraft will almost certainly be supplied by Derby-based Rolls-Royce.
The Midlands company said it had already clinched a preliminary agreement to supply a next-generation Trent engine for the new A350 XWB twinjet.
The engine, the sixth variant in the Trent series, would be capable of powering all versions of the aircraft currently proposed.
Mike Terrett, president - civil aerospace at Rolls-Royce, said: "As a result of positive discussions with Airbus, we have concluded a preliminary framework agreement to make a new member of the Trent family available on the A350 XWB.
"Establishing a position on this programme is important for Rolls-Royce.
"It broadens our excellent working relationship with Airbus through a significant new venture, and provides a strong platform as we aim to maintain our position as the leading engine supplier for the new-generation widebody market."
Engine design would again be based around the three-shaft architecture unique to all Rolls-Royce large engines, used throughout the Trent family as well as the earlier RB211 series.
The new programme would be subject to board approval.
The A350 XWB also comes with a different wing design from the originally-conceived A350. Wings for Airbus planes are made in the UK - at Filton in Bristol, and at Broughton in North Wales.
Earlier this year Airbus announced that deliveries of the A380 - another major source of work for aerospace component manufacturers in the West Midlands - would slow next year due to electrics problems with the giant aircraft, which is flying in the air displays at the Farnborough Air Show from where Mr Streiff was speaking.
Mr Streiff said about the A380: "We are late in deliveries. We fully understand the disappointment of our customers and we are disappointed ourselves.
"The present bottleneck is very specific and we have 100 per cent identified it. We don't intend to provide a miracle overnight but we aim to return to a sound, reliable timetable for deliveries."
Mr Streiff went on: "Yes, Airbus is in the middle of a serious crisis in relation to our customers and we know the competition is taking advantage of this. I want to turn this crisis into a real opportunity. We are learning to be humble and we are learning to change our bad habits.
"I am convinced that Airbus will get out of this crisis better and stronger than before."
Mr Streiff: "I am convinced that we will overcome the difficulties that we are in today. We will face the challenges. We will regain the confidence of our customers and shareholders and we will find our self-confidence."
He said the company of late had known "every day that we were not exactly delivering everything we promised".