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A350 Goes Long

As Qatar Airways eagerly awaits the delivery of its maiden Airbus A350-1000, Airliner World was given exclusive access to the first aircraft as it is being prepared to be handed over to the Middle Eastern carrier. Barry Woods-Turner reports from Toulouse.

European aerospace giant Airbus has secured the type certification for the stretched variant of its A350 XWB, the -1000, enabling the first delivery to be made to launch customer Qatar Airways. Although a little later than originally planned Airbus says it is planing to hand over the jet before the end of the year.

Antonio da Costa, Airbus Head of Product Marketing, outlined the A350 XWB programme to date, saying the company has received 858 commitments from 45 customers, including one for a ACJ350 XWB from an as-yet undisclosed corporate client. He said it was interesting to note that more than half of the major A350 XWB customers have ordered both variants – the -900 and -1000.

Airbus used three A350- 1000 flight-test aircraft during the variant’s development. After more than 1,600 hours of flying, EASA and FAA awarded the variant its type certificate on November 21. KEY-BARRY WOODS-TURNER

Airbus has delivered 123 aircraft to date, and says the type has achieved an impressive 99.1% operational reliability after just two years of airline operation, which de Costa put down to its innovative design and maturity at entry into service. Also, he explained, Airbus had worked very closely with its customers on the A350 programme to ensure it was bringing the right product to the market – one that met their requirements.

He elaborated: “When we set out to design the stretched -1000, there was a real consensus that it should be able to replace the Boeing 777-300ER as well as compete for market share with the 777-9. The A350-900 was a clean sheet design with the built-in capacity to be stretched to meet future market requirements”, he added. “The resulting A350-1000 is around 40 tonnes lighter than its competitor’s maximum take-off weight, and because it is more efficient it can fly 450nm (833km) further.”

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About Airliner World

In the January issue of Airliner World, we bid farewell to KLM’s Fokkers, ending a 97-year association between the Dutch flag carrier and the manufacturer, we examine how a partial privatisation could offer Pakistan International Airlines renewed hope for its future, and we go behind the scenes with launch customer Qatar Airways as it prepares to take delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000. Elsewhere in this edition, we find out Hebridean Air Services has forged a unique and highly valued link with the remote island communities it serves, we find out how Leipzig/Halle has transformed from sleepy backwater to major European cargo hub, and we hear how AeroLink Uganda is playing a quirky but important role in connecting its home market. We also shine the spotlight on Singapore Airlines’ new A380 cabin, and we bring you a selection of photos from NBAA 2017 and from Orly, Paris’ second airport. Lastly, we bring you our comprehensive coverage of worldwide news, including a full round-up from the Dubai Airshow, plus Embraer eyes an April debut for the E-Jet E2, ATR wins a major order from FedEx, Emirates takes delivery of its 100th Airbus A380, and Boeing delivers the first 737 MAX to China. We also have all our regular sections covering the latest commercial aircraft acquisitions, up-to-date accident reports and developments from the world of aviation training and MROs.

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