Airbus announced on April 23 that its ultra-long range version of the A350 XWB, MSN 216, had successfully completed its first flight. The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB family will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in the second half 2018.
The aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines has embarked on a short flight test programme to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will extend its range capability to 9,700 nautical miles. These changes 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 from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.
With a maximum take-off weight of 280 tons, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, while retaining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort.
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. 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.
At the end of March 2018, 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 wide body aircraft ever.