Atkins, a UK engineering consultancy, will design composite components for the in-board flap of the new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.

Flaps on the aircraft wing change the aerodynamic shape of the aircraft, enabling take-off and landing.

The use of composite materials on the flaps will lower the overall aircraft weight and reduce carbon emissions as a result.

The A350 XWB is still in the construction phase and will enter service in 2013. Its design includes up to 52% composite materials instead of traditional metallics and the aircraft will be the first to have a wing made of composites.

Composite materials are being increasingly used to improve strength-to-weight ratios and reduce the environmental impact of aircraft.