The first ultra-long-range version of the A350 XWB has rolled out of the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse.
The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB family will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines later this year.
Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 ultra-long-range aircraft, which it will use on non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.
Following completion of the airframe assembly, the first aircraft has now moved to an outdoor station where it will undergo extensive ground tests, prior to installation of its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
The aircraft will then embark on a short flight test programme to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will bring the additional range capability.
These include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 litres, without the need for additional fuel tanks.
The test phase will also measure enhanced performance derived from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.
With a maximum take-off weight of 280 tonnes, the A350 XWB ultra-long-range is capable of flying up to 9,700 nautical miles or over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.
To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.
Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven ultra-long-range models.
The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.