The historic delivery of Airbus’ first A350 XWB – which is to be received on 22nd of December by launch customer Qatar Airways – will mark another major milestone for this advanced widebody jetliner that is setting new standards in terms of passenger comfort, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
The A350 XWB programme has been particularly busy during 2014 as Airbus and other stakeholders worked toward the headline-making initial handover. This activity was highlighted by the continuation and completion of A350-900 flight testing; which was followed by Type Certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), received in September and November, respectively.
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.
Airbus’ A350 XWB is the world’s most modern passenger jet, delivering a 25-per cent improvement in fuel efficiency compared to current aluminium long-range competitors. It is the result of an extra open collaboration right from the start among all stakeholders.
The remarkable fuel-efficiency is the product of cutting-edge technology. More than two-thirds of this jetliner’s airframe is made from composite materials, titanium and advanced aluminium alloys. The fuselage and wings are built from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic. The latest aerodynamics sharpen the A350’s operational efficiency, while its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines use the most advanced propulsion technology.
At the end of November 2014, the A350 XWB had logged 778 firm orders from 41 customers worldwide. To meet this demand, Airbus is ramping up production progressively to reach the planned rate of 10 aircraft per month by 2018.
The Airbus A350 XWB – the first delivery of which was to Qatar Airways – has an all-new design offering a 25 per cent reduction in seat mile costs