Mark Fetters/Staff Reporter
Qatar Airways flew the first passenger flight with the highly anticipated Airbus A350. The A350 was a concept by Airbus in 2004 as a replacement for both the A330 and A340 aircraft. In 2005, at the Paris airshow, Qatar announced the order of 60 A350 aircrafts. With much criticism from the start, a redesign of the aircraft was made and announced at the Farnborough Airshow where it received the official title of A350 XWB (Xtra-Wide Body). After a few more years of development, the maiden flight took place on June 14, 2013 from the Toulouse Airport. During its testing, the aircraft would receive its ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) with 370 minutes, which allows it to fly over six hours on a single engine. Qatar Airways currently flies its only A350 between its hub in Doha and Frankfurt, Germany with plans to fly the A350 to other cities in Europe as well as the eastern seaboard of the United States. The A350-900 has a maximum range of 7,750 nautical miles and can seat up to 440 passengers. With 780 orders currently for the A350 we will begin to see plenty in the sky over the next few years, and it should be an aircraft that can stand the test of time.