The Ultra Long-Range version of the A350 XWB, MSN 216, has successfully completed its first flight. The latest variant of the A350 XWB Family, which will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner, will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in second half 2018.
The aircraft, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, has embarked on a flight test programme to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will extend its range capability to 9,700 nautical miles. The changes include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 litres, without the need for additional fuel tanks. The test phase will also measure enhanced performance from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.
With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB can fly over 20 hours non-stop. Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it will use on non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.
The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. The aircraft boasts of a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. It also has an Airspace by Airbus cabin, with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.
Airbus has so far recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide. Singapore Airlines has ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.