Qatar bets on A350-1000

Photo Courtesy: Airbus
Airbus A350-1000 MSN065 takes off from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport for the first time on February 7

Shashwat Acharya/Correspondent

Qatar Airways is expecting its first delivery of 37 Airbus A350-1000s in the coming weeks after the aircraft successfully passed functional and reliability testing. One of the requirements for the newest member of Airbus’s leading wide-body family was to fly from Europe to South America. Its objective was to fly from Barranquilla, Colombia to Toulouse, France, which was piloted by Airbus’s flight test crews and Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). During the certification process the A350-1000 flew approximately 35,200 nautical miles over 150 flight hours in less than a two-week period, bringing the aircraft closer to type certification later this month.

The tests are part of an intensive flight test campaign, which started less than a year ago, to ensure operational readiness in the airlines. Some of these tests included: high airfield performance, airport turnaround, handling services, cabin systems, auto-landing trials, and navigation and connectivity function performance. Noise tests and trials were also conducted in Morón, Spain. Additionally, the A350-1000 underwent rigorous ground and flight tests in locations with extreme conditions, such as in Iqaluit, Canada and the Al Ain International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. During the tests, the aircraft experienced temperatures ranging from polar conditions to desert heat. The overall objective of these tests was to check the aircraft’s behavior with a focus on the cabin.

Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines, the A350-1000 has a modified wing trailing edge, along with a six-wheel main landing gear similar to the Boeing 777. The A350-1000 also features a longer fuselage to increase the capacity by forty more passengers than the previous model, the A350-900. The XWB-97 engine was also tested separately when it flew aboard an A380 where it “covered a wide range of power settings at altitudes up to 35,000 ft.”, according to Airbus.

Furthermore, the A350-1000 is reshaping the cabin design by introducing its ‘Airspace’ cabin, which is said to offer unprecedented levels of efficiency and unrivaled comfort. With their additional capacity, the A350-1000 is very desirable aircraft for the busiest long-haul routes. Currently, eleven customers from five continents have placed orders for 169 A350-1000s.