Airbus A350-1000 to visit Auckland and Sydney on global demonstration tour

Airbus A350-100 demonstration tour details. (Airbus)
Airbus A350-100 demonstration tour details. (Airbus)

Airbus says it will bring the largest variant of its A350 family to Australia and New Zealand as part of a 30,000nm demonstration tour across the Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

The A350-1000, MSN065 F-WLXV, began its 12-city trip on January 26 (European time), with its first destination after departing from Toulouse the Qatari capital Doha. It has since visited Muscat and Hong Kong. Upcoming cities include Bangkok, Hanoi and Taipei.

Airbus A350-1000 MSN065 is welcomed to Doha. (Qatar Airways)
Airbus A350-1000 MSN065 is welcomed to Doha. (Qatar Airways)

The aircraft, operated by Airbus flight test crews, is due to reach Sydney following its appearance at the Singapore Airshow, where it will be on static display from February 6 to 8, before heading across the Tasman to Auckland.

The cabin of MSN065, one of three A350-1000 test aircraft, is configured with a full passenger cabin comprising 40 business, 36 economy plus and 219 economy seats.

Airbus said the tour was to “demonstrate the aircraft’s exclusive features to airlines”.

The company has received 169 orders for the A350-1000 from 11 customers. The aircraft received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November 2017.

The launch customer is Qatar Airways, which was expected to have picked up its first A350-1000 in late December 2017. However, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al-Baker said in a statement welcoming the MSN065 to Doha the new revised timetable was for the first aircraft to arrive in February. 

“The delivery of the world’s first commercial A350-1000 next month is highly-anticipated by Qatar Airways passengers and employees,” Al Baker said.

“Our expert delivery staff have been working in partnership with Airbus to ensure a prompt entry into service so we can deliver outstanding levels of comfort, thanks to the A350-1000’s spacious cabins and advanced technology.”

Media reports indicated first delivery has been pushed back to mid-February due to delays with the installation of the airline’s new QSuites business class seats.

The innovative new seat design, which is already flying on a number of Qatar’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, includes the option to have a set of four seats face each other so those travelling in a group can conduct meetings, socialise or share a meal together, while still providing the now-standard flatbed and direct aisle access for every passenger in business class.

Airbus chief operating officer Fabrice Brégier said: “At Airbus we look forward to delivering the world’s first A350-1000 to Qatar Airways in the coming weeks.”

Other airlines that have ordered the A350-100 that serve Australia include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group and Asiana Airlines.

The A350-1000 is 73.78m in length, 6.98m longer than the A350-900, and is designed to fly 7,950nm carrying 366 passengers, 41 more passengers than the A350-900 which is already flying with a number of airlines.

The company has said previously that the A350-1000 had 95 per cent common systems part numbers as the A350-900, as well as the same type rating. Apart from being longer than the A350-900, the A350-1000 also has a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines.

No airline in Oceania has ordered the A350, although the widebody twin is an increasingly common sight at local airports thanks to services operated by Cathay Pacific (Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth), China Airlines (Sydney), Qatar Airways (Adelaide), Singapore Airlines (Brisbane and Melbourne) and Thai Airways (Melbourne).

The Airbus A350-1000 is the second member of the A350XWB family. (Airbus)
The Airbus A350-1000 is the largest member of the A350XWB family. (Airbus)
The flight test program for the A350-100 included the flooded runway test. (Airbus)
The flight test program for the A350-100 included the flooded runway test. (Airbus)
The flight test program for the A350-100 included the cold weather tests. (Airbus)
And cold weather tests. (Airbus)

In August 2014, Airbus brought A350-900 test aircraft MSN5 to Auckland, Perth and Sydney in this part of the world as part of its route proving program, the final phase of the aircraft’s type certification testing.


  1. k lane says

    Air NZ replacement for 8x 777-200’s
    esp with AKL – Chicago / Sao Paulo / NYC flagged as new routes

  2. Jack Donegan says

    Anyone know what dates and times the A350 will be at Sydney? I really want to book some earlybird flights and accomodation at Sydney!

  3. Broderick says

    @k lane My understanding is Air New Zealand are purchasing more Dreamliners to replace the 8 772’s.

  4. Francisco Miguez Vaca says

    What a beauty of a plane! Can’t wait to have proper look at it at the airport.

  5. Andrew Ewen says

    Re: your list of A350 destinations in this part of the world. CX also currently operate the A350 to Christchurch ( admittedly this is currently just a seasonal service)

  6. Chris says

    I agree with Broderick, Air NZ will mostly like buy a mixture of B787-9/B787-10 with enhance premium economy as a replacement for the B772’s. This is inline with the company’s current ‘one aircraft type for route’ policy. The 7 B773’s will mostly like be replaced with the B778’s.

    Whilst Airbus is trying to get Air NZ to buy the A350’s, Boeing has given Air NZ a very good discount for future B787 purchases being the launch customer for B787-9. Unless Airbus gives Air NZ a good discount to woo Air NZ to be the first carrier on Australasia to operate the A350, I do see Air NZ buying the A350.

  7. James says

    Believe Feb 12-14 in AKL.

    As for fleet replace for Air NZ, 359 for 772, 35K for 77W.

    EADS will have a very sharp pencil – esp as NZ is set to become one of largest ATR72 operators in world and a large operator of 320/321 in this area.

  8. Scott says

    Would be great pairing for Virgin Aust aswell.
    5 773 replace with 5 350-1000’s like 4 like capacity better range if still desire 360 seats.
    6 330 replace with 10 350-900’s 4 Asia and thinner LaX routes,.
    Could even get creative take 2 900ULR’s in there and gives the option of NYC direct or something similar if desired anytime desired.
    All this on one type, widest cabin in the modern 2 engine wideboadies puts it at the top of the tree.

  9. k lane says

    Thanks Broderick – I feel you are on the money – 787-10’s with few additional 787-9 TO replace 777-200 ( we may see 777-200 x 2 exit early as 2 examples are not going through livery revision and still carry old titles / pacific wave and off lease in 18 months

    777-300 MOST LIKELY 777X

  10. James says

    @ Gordon Mackenzie

    They haven’t ordered it. So it might be a while before you see that. If ever.

    @ James

    Is that your wishlist? Or do you have some type of inside information about Air NZ fleet management? Can’t see them replacing the 77W anytime soon. I don’t know how efficient it would be to be operating A350’s alongside 787’s.

  11. Chris says

    For k lane – I agree with you, that Air NZ will mostly go a mixture of B788 and B787-10 for B772 replacement, as I believe that Air NZ has options for another 5 B787’s at the original discount. Having a ‘one aircraft type per route’ policy, has been good economics for Air NZ, as this is seen with A320/A321 for domestic and short haul international services and the ATR72’s on most of the domestic regional routes.

    Since the B773’s have an average age of 5.3 years, their replacement plans are still at least 10 years away, so I guess by that time, Air NZ would have look at the success of either the B778 or the A359ULR as their replacement.

    If Qantas does go with the A359ULR for their planned ultra long haul services, then Air NZ would be interested, as Air NZ is currently working on their future ultra long haul ‘Point to Point’ services plans. Maybe Airbus may give both Qantas and Air NZ good discounts on the A359’s to woo them.


  12. John S says

    Does someone know the exact Date this Aircraft is expected to Arrive at Auckland International Airport?

  13. Rodney Marinkovic says

    Qantas centernaly celebration will include A350-1000 in the Roo livery.
    Big tween, way to win-win.

  14. Treb Retsof says

    Airbus have always traditionally ‘over quoted and under delivered’ compared to Boeing ‘under quoting and over delivering’ when it comes to quoted performance and fuel economy so it would be very interesting to see if this RR powered aircraft can really(?) deliver the goods because the almost same RR engine on the A380 (A190; half the aircraft it was supposed to be!) delivers.

    I understand that SQ’s first A350 had a fuel correction factor in the FMGC of +6.6% over book!