Airbus says the largest variant of its A350 widebody is on track for first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways before the end of calendar 2017 after receiving type certification from regulators in Europe and the United States.
The company said on Tuesday (European time) it had received the type certification documents from both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the A350-1000, following a flight test program that concluded in early November.
“Receiving the A350-1000 Type Certification from EASA and FAA less than one year after its first flight is an incredible achievement for Airbus and for all our partners who have been instrumental in building and testing this superb widebody aircraft,” Airbus Commercial Aircraft president Fabrice Brégier said in a statement.
“The A350-1000 benefits from the maturity of its successful brother, the A350-900, which has translated into excellent right-on-time performance.
“We now look forward to deliver the first aircraft to Qatar Airways by the end of the year.”
Three A350-1000 development aircraft were used for flight test program, which began in November 2016.
Airbus said it has received 169 orders for the A350-1000 from 11 customers, which aside from Qatar includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, Japan Airlines, LATAM Airlines Group and Asiana Airlines that serve Australia. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, the aircraft 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. Differences between the pair included the A350-1000 having a longer fuselage, a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and a 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), Qatar Airways (Adelaide), Singapore Airlines (Brisbane and Melbourne) and Thai Airways (Melbourne).
China Airlines will be the fifth airline to fly the aircraft to Australia from December 1 when it upgauges and upgrades its Taipei-Sydney services from four times weekly with A330s to twice daily with A350-900s from December 1 as part of efforts to support its new long-haul offering to London Gatwick.