Posted on: 24 July 2014 by Mark Howells
The Airbus A350-900 has begun its final stage towards certification performing route proving tests designed to demonstrate the type’s readiness for airline operations which include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services.
The A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole. The aircraft (MSN5) is one of the fleet of five test aircraft and one of two with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). The A350 flights are being operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for the third quarter this year. The first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, will follow towards the end of the year.
The three week trial, involving four trips, starts in Toulouse, France. Trip one, includes destinations such as Canada via the north-pole and Frankfurt. Trip two to Asia, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, includes visits to Hong Kong and Singapore. The third trip brings the aircraft to Johannesburg and to Sydney. From Sydney it will fly to Auckland, followed by Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo before returning to Toulouse. On the fourth and final trip, the A350 will depart from Toulouse to Doha, then onto Perth and back to Doha. From Doha it will fly to Moscow, then to Helsinki from where it will fly back to Toulouse.
The type has been ordered by leading low-fare airline, AirAsia.