The Airbus A350-900, the first model in the Airbus A350 XWB family, has received type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
EASA awarded the Airbus A350-900 its type certificate on September 30. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification will follow shortly, according to Airbus.
The FAA and EASA, the world’s two largest airworthiness authorities, normally accept each other’s certification standards and certification analysis work to a very high degree, requiring manufacturers to perform only minor additional testing or provide a little extra documentation to meet the agencies’ own particular certification criteria.
As certified, the A350-900 is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. To date the Trent XWB is the sole engine choice available on all Airbus A350 XWB jets and so all 750 aircraft for which Airbus had received firm orders by August 31 (including 547 A350-900s) will be powered by Trent XWBs.
The EASA A350-900 type certificate was signed by Patrick Ky, EASA’s executive director. The document was handed over to Charles Champion, Airbus’ executive vice president engineering; and Gordon McConnell, Airbus’ A350 XWB chief engineer.
“The A350 XWB manufacturing program has also been innovative and ambitious, aiming for a fully mature aircraft at entry into service and this is what we are proud to be delivering to our first A350 XWB customer, Qatar Airways, before the end of the year,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus president and CEO.
“Our fleet of five test aircraft completed the certification campaign, on time, cost and quality,” added Brégier. “Accumulating more than 2,600 flight test hours, we created and successfully achieved one of the industry’s most thorough and efficient test programs ever developed for a jetliner.”
A350-900 type certification comes after the five aircraft in the flight-test fleet, and a static airframe used for ground load tests, successfully finished a stringent program of certification trials which took its airframe and systems well beyond their design limits to ensure the A350-900 fully meets all airworthiness criteria.
At the end of August 2014, the Airbus A350 XWB family had won firm orders for 750 aircraft from 39 customers worldwide.
However, this total may fall ,because the proposed Airbus A350-800, a shorter-fuselage, shorter-range version of the A350-900, has won net orders for only 34 aircraft to date and Airbus appears to be trying to discontinue A350-800 development.
Airbus has been trying to persuade the remaining A350-800 customers (Aeroflot, Asiana Airlines, leasing company AWAS, Hawaiian Airlines and Yemenia) to replace their orders for A350-800s with orders for the newly launched, somewhat cheaper, but almost as capable Airbus A330neo family, particularly the A330-800neo version.
Hawaiian Airlines has already agreed to do so, announcing in June that it would replace its order for six A350-800s with an order for the same number of Airbus A330-800neo jets. The A330-800neo will be a modernized, longer-range version of the Airbus A330-200, with new-design Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.