The ultra long-range (ULR) version of the Airbus A350 XWB, MSN 216, has completed its first flight. The latest variant of the A350 XWB family will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in the second half of 2018.
The aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines has embarked on a short flight test program to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will extend its range capability to 9,700nm. These changes include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000L, 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 (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB can fly more than 20 hours non-stop.
Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 ULR 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.
The A350 XWB features a carbon fiber fuselage and wings and an Airspace by Airbus cabin.
At the end of March 2018, Airbus had recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide.
Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB family, having ordered 67 A350-900s, including the seven ultra long-range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.