The first Airbus A350-900 for launch customer Qatar Airways has successfully completed its maiden flight.
Coming a day after the European Aviation Safety Agency awarded the Airbus A350-900 an unprecedented 370-minute ETOPS single-engine diversion rating, the October 16 first flight of Qatar Airways’ first A350-900 represented the first time an Airbus A350 XWB jet configured for a customer had flown.
Following the flight, Qatar Airways’ first A350-900 will enter its final production phase before delivery; this includes completion of its passenger-cabin interior, as well as further pre-delivery ground and flight tests.
Qatar Airways will become the first operator of the Airbus A350 XWB family when it takes delivery of its first A350-900 later this year.
The airline has 80 A350 XWBs on order, including 43 A350-900s and 37 of the larger A350-1000 model.
Airbus’s twin-aisle A350 XWB offers a cabin cross-section of 220 inches from the outer armrest of one window seat to the outer armrest of the other window seat in the same seat row.
At the end of September 2014, firm orders for the Airbus A350 XWB family totaled 750 aircraft, for 39 customers worldwide.
This number may decline as Airbus attempts to convert the remaining firm orders for 34 of the slow-selling A350-800 model into orders for the similarly sized, slightly less range-capable but much cheaper A330neo family, which Airbus launched at the Farnborough International Airshow 2014 this past July.