The largely composite construction airliner has been awarded European EASA type certification in its initial A350-900 form, with Airbus saying US FAA certification will follow “shortly”. Certification paves the way for first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways before the end of the year.
“Our fleet of five test aircraft completed the certification campaign, on time, cost and quality. Accumulating more than 2,600 flight test hours, we created and successfully achieved one of the industry’s most thorough and efficient test programs ever developed for a jetliner,” Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The A350-900 has been certified to two maximum takeoff weights, 268 and 275 tonnes. The aircraft has completed ETOPS testing, but EASA and the FAA have yet to announce what ETOPS limits they will grant the aircraft. Airbus says it will have some level of ETOPS clearance by service entry, and is ultimately aiming for 420 minute ETOPS approval.
Airbus celebrated the certification milestone with the release of stunning images of a formation flight by the five A350 development aircraft that took place over the Pyrenees mountain range, south of its Toulouse headquaters, on Monday.