Airbus A350-XWB Extra Widebody Takes Maiden Flight in South of France
EADS, the European aerospace consortium and maker of Airbus aircraft, completed the first flight of its latest commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB.
The twin engine, extra wide body jet took off from Toulouse Blagnac Airport this morning at 10:00 a.m. Central European Time with a crew of six pilots and engineers on board, landing at the same airport nearly four hours later. This flight begins the 2,500-hour program to certify the A350-900 with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration as well as the European Aviation Safety Agency.
The A350 is the first all-new Airbus model since the double-decker A380 jumbo jet, which first flew in 2005. It is longer and wider than the existing A330 and A340 models, and through design advancements, significant use of composite materials, and all-new Rolls Royce turbofans, is 25% more efficient as well.
The A350-900 is the first model slated to enter commercial production, and holds 314 passengers in a 3-class layout, with an expected range of 8,100 nautical miles. Shorter A350-800 and stretched A350-1000 models can hold from 250 up to 440 passengers, with ranges reaching 8,500 nautical miles.
Airbus expects the A350 to enter commercial service in the latter portion of 2014, with more than 600 firm orders from customers around the world, beginning with Qatar Airways. The A350 XWB is poised to compete directly with the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner airliners.