The world’s newest, most modern and efficient aircraft, the Airbus A350 XWB, has just wrapped up its successful African debut, leaving at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport this morning on its next test flight to Sydney, Australia.
The aircraft, MSN 005, is one of five A350 XWB prototypes used to perform comprehensive flight test and development trials. The aircraft has to fly a representative airline schedule, demonstrating its maturity for airline operations. This exercise is the last of the trials required for Type Certification, which is expected in September this year. The aircraft is operated by Airbus flight crews.
During its visit to Johannesburg, the aircraft has carried out high airfield auto-landing trials. With an airfield elevation of 5,557 feet (1,694m) above sea level and being suitably equipped with the necessary landing aids, O.R. Tambo International Airport is ideally suited for these tests.
The A350 XWB World Tour began on July 24th and involves a series of tests on four different trips. It will visit 14 airports around the world and will end on August 13th.
The A350 XWB is an all new family of mid sized wide-body airliners to shape the efficiency of medium-to-long haul airline operations, overcoming the challenges of volatile fuel prices, matching rising passenger expectations and addressing increasing environmental concerns.
The A350 XWB Family consists of three passenger versions with true long-range capability of flying up to 8,500nm/15,580km. In a typical two-class configuration, the A350-800 will offer 276 seats while the A350-900 and the A350-1000 will offer 315 and 369 seats respectively.