Last week, Airbus announced first Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB has rolled out of the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France. The news comes just shortly after Airbus delivered the world’s first A350-1000 widebody airliner to Qatar Airways, the largest A350 XWB family customer. Large all planes in the A350 XWB lineup, the Ultra Long Range version will feature a CFRP fuselage and wings and fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines.
According to Airbus, the Ultra Long Range variant of the A350 XWB 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.
With construction of the airframe assembly now complete, 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 program 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 liters, 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 (MTOW) of 280 tons, 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. Singapore Airlines has ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models.