MIAMI – The A350-1000 completed successfully its first and unique “Early Long Flight” with 310 passengers on board, including 10 Airbus Flight Test crew members and 13 Virgin Atlantic cabin crew. Test aircraft MSN065, one of three A350-1000s in the test program, took off from and landed in Toulouse on May 11th after a 12 hour flight.
During the long sortie, the test aircraft traversed 13 countries: southern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, central Europe, the Nordic countries, concluding over the North Sea, Great Britain and Ireland, then rounding the coasts of Portugal and Spain before returning home to Toulouse.
During the long-haul flight the passengers, comprising Airbus employees and cabin crew personnel from Virgin Atlantic Airways – one of the 12 A350-1000 customers – were first to experience the Xtra wide comfort of the A350-1000. The early passengers were invited to try out and test the cabin systems, including air conditioning, lighting, acoustics, in-flight entertainment (IFE), galleys, electrics, washrooms and water waste systems.
Though not part of the technical certification programme, the Early Long Flight allows Airbus to assess cabin environment and systems in-flight and optimise cabin procedures to ensure full maturity at Entry Into Service for its customers.
The stretched A350-1000 accommodates 40-plus more seats in a typical three-class configuration than the A350-900. With 211 on order, the first Airbus A350-1000 is due to enter service with Qatar Airways later in the year.