Airbus says the largest variant of its A350 is on track to receive type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) before the end of November, paving the way for first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways “in the coming weeks”.
The company said the A350-1000 completed its functional and reliability testing, which covered 35,200nm of flying in a two-week period that encompassed 150 flight hours across Europe and South America, on November 1.
“The A350-1000, the newest member of Airbus’ leading Widebody family, has successfully completed its Functional and Reliability testing, bringing the aircraft a step closer to Type Certification in November 2017,” Airbus said.
“The first customer delivery to Qatar Airways will follow in the coming weeks.”
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. 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 a 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.