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A350-900 testing and certification

The A350-900 received Type Certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 30 September 2014, one day after a high-profile formation flight performed by the five A350 XWB test aircraft.

The cornerstone member of Airbus’ A350 XWB product line – the A350-900 version – entered commercial service with launch customer Qatar Airways in January 2015. To ensure reliability from the start, it was subjected to one of the most thorough test and certification programmes ever developed for a jetliner.

Lasting just over 14 months, which is an industry record, the A350-900 flight test and certification programme comprised a five-aircraft fleet which performed over 2,600 flight hours in total. During this campaign, Airbus successfully completed the certification trials which took the airframe and its systems beyond their design limits to ensure airworthiness criteria are fully met. It concluded with Type Certification received by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in September and November 2014, respectively. 

As an example of “going the extra mile” in this campaign, Airbus developed its own “airline” – designated Airline 1 – to evaluate the A350 XWB in typical operating conditions. The simulated airline experience comprised a dedicated staff operating a hangar and maintenance control centre in coordination with Airbus’ flight-test team – allowing for daily maintenance, support and repair operations for the five-aircraft A350 XWB test fleet.

Another aspect of the company’s campaign was the Early Long Flights performed in June 2014. Consisting of two missions with selected Airbus employees as “passengers,” these flights were operated by actual airline crews from Air France and Lufthansa – allowing Airbus to assess the cabin environment and systems in settings that represented a normal commercial transport.

Further underscoring the A350 XWB’s readiness for commercial service was the Route Proving World Tour, during which the new-generation jetliner visited 14 cities – Iqaluit, Canada; Frankfurt, Germany; Hong Kong; Singapore; Johannesburg, South Africa; Sydney, Australia; Auckland, New Zealand; Santiago de Chile; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Doha, Qatar; Perth, Australia; Moscow, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Toulouse, France – over a three-week period in July-August 2014. 

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Did you know?

Did you know?
  • The advanced wing design of the A350 XWB offers an optimized cruise speed of Mach 0.85
  • The A350 XWB Crew Rest Areas are above offering secure and private space the cabin, with no impact on the cabin.
  • The A350 XWB is the first Airbus to be over 50% composite