The maiden flight of Airbus’ A350-1000 – the latest member of the all-new A350 XWB widebody family that is shaping the future of long-haul airline operations – has initiated a fast-paced test and certification programme leading to the jetliner’s service entry next year.
During more than 4 hours aloft today, this longest-fuselage version of the A350 XWB demonstrated the performance and efficiency that will be appreciated by airline and aircraft leasing customers worldwide – 11 of which already have ordered 195 A350-1000s from the Middle East, North America, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Performing today’s initial in-flight evaluation from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in southwestern France was the aircraft bearing the Manufacturing Serial Number 59 (MSN059) – one of three jetliners that will participate in the A350-1000 flight test and certification campaign.
Range, comfort, capacity and efficiency combined
Measuring nearly 74 metres from nose to tail, the A350-1000 is offering a maximum range of 7,950 nautical miles. It is designed for high efficiency, maximum reliability and optimised performance while offering passengers best-in-class comfort with its “Airspace by Airbus” cabin.
The A350-1000’s longer fuselage translates to greater capacity, seating 366 passengers (+40 seats compared to the A350-900) in a typical three-class configuration, and answers market needs with a larger premium area to accommodate first class and business class travellers.
Further enhancing the A350-1000’s efficiency are its latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 turbofan jet powerplants – the world’s most efficient large aero engines flying today.
Deliveries of the A350-1000 are planned to begin in the second half of 2017 with launch customer Qatar Airways (which has ordered 37 aircraft). Other carriers that have booked A350-1000s are United Airlines (with 35 on order), Cathay Pacific (26), Etihad (22) British Airways (18), LATAM (14), Japan Airlines (13), Asiana Airlines (10), Air Lease Corporation (9), Virgin Atlantic (8), and Air Caraïbes (3).
The A350-1000 and A350-900: shared family traits
The A350-1000 builds on the success of Airbus’ shorter-fuselage A350-900 that entered service in January 2015 and is operated today by nine airlines, which are flying nearly 50 of these jetliners on routes around the globe.
Both A350 XWB versions benefit from an all-new fuselage – built with carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and sized at a 221-inch cross-section for more personal space and exclusive in-flight experience in all classes of service – and they share an unprecedented level of commonality, with 95 per cent common systems part numbers and the same type rating for pilots.
The A350-1000 and A350-900 bring together the very latest in aerodynamics – such as their unique morphing wings designed to reduce drag and lower fuel burn – and advanced technologies for a 25 per cent step change in operating cost compared to its current long-range competitor, underscoring that it is the “Xtra” that makes the difference.