Airlines and pilots will both benefit from the Common Type Rating pilot training on the A350 XWB and A330 jetliners, further extending Airbus’ concept of flight operational commonality between its fly-by-wire aircraft families.
The new regulatory approval means that pilots who are qualified and current on the A330 can already commence their preparations to take the A350 XWB’s controls by undergoing “differences training” only.
Enabling a significant reduction of costs for airlines, the differences training does not necessitate the use of a ground-based full-flight-simulator, and allows a 65 percent reduction in pilot training time – to only eight days – versus a standard transition course. Additionally, it facilitates the creation of a pool of pilots who can fly both the A330 and A350 XWB in a single-fleet flying (SFF) concept for increased scheduling flexibility and mobility.
“This achievement is a fine example of our ability to combine innovation with commonality, and will be particularly valuable to airlines wishing to operate the A330 and A350 XWB in parallel,” explained Régine Vadrot, who leads the Training & Operational Certification team at Airbus. “The A350 XWB is a true member of the Airbus integrated family of aircraft.”
A notable factor in achieving the A350 XWB/A330 Common Type Rating is the similarity in handling qualities between the two fly-by-wire jetliners, as recently verified by pilots representing the European and U.S. civil aviation authorities who flew both aircraft.
As the latest Airbus widebody twin-engine jetliner, the A350 XWB is to set a new standard of comfort and efficiency in its class. With A350 XWB deliveries to begin before the end of 2014, an increasing number of pilots will be trained to fly the aircraft – many of whom are already approved to operate A330 jetliners.
The A330 remains a cornerstone in Airbus’ product line of twin-engine widebody aircraft, having logged more than 1,300 orders – with over 1,100 aircraft currently serving 100-plus operators worldwide. Its attractiveness is being further enhanced by Airbus’ development of a new 242 tonne weight variant, as well as a version optimised for regional routes and the A330neo (new engine option) configuration that was launched in 2014.