Airbus has confirmed it is planning to conduct the first flight of the A350 XWB widebody jet on Friday, June 14.
Weather conditions permitting, the first flight-test Airbus A350 XWB ‒ labeled ‘MSN1’ by the manufacturer, since the aircraft has the manufacturer’s serial number 1 ‒ will take off from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (IATA code TLS) at around 10:00 am local time on June 14, according to Airbus.
The manufacturer says its decision to schedule the first flight of the first Airbus A350 XWB flight-test aircraft is based on the current high public visibility of the program and the flight-test status of the aircraft.
From this it appears that Airbus’ pre-flight ground-testing and preparation of the first flight-test A350 XWB, an Airbus A350-900, is going well.
However, as of June 11 Airbus had not yet completed taxi trials of A350 XWB ‘MSN1’, although the previous week the company did name and release biographical information about the six-man crew for the first flight.
If Airbus succeeds in conducting a successful first flight of the A350 XWB on June 14, the event will rank as a considerable media and public-relations coup for the manufacturer at the Paris Air Show, the largest trade air show in the world. The Paris Air Show begins in earnest on June 17 (though media and exhibitors are usually allowed in a day beforehand).
Rival widebody manufacturer Boeing is displaying two 787-8 jets at the Paris show, but Airbus is likely to be able to upstage their presence if it can point to a successful first flight of the A350 XWB on June 14. Although the A350 XWB is a year behind its original development schedule, the Boeing 787 development and delivery program has to date incurred delays totaling four years.
Airbus says the A350 XWB flight-test teams are now carrying out the last checks on the A350 XWB ‘MSN1’ before they give the final green light for the first flight to take place on June 14. Recent pre-first flight tests successfully carried out included the first power-up of the aircraft’s Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which took place on June 2.
The Airbus A350 XWB family will comprise three versions, seating from 270 to 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts.
According to Airbus, its new widebody family will use 25 per cent less fuel than existing commercial aircraft in the same size category and will provide an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions.
Scheduled for entry into service in the second half of 2014, the A350 XWB family has already won firm orders for 613 aircraft from 33 customers worldwide.