The Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB, known as the MSN 216, successfully completed its first flight last week. According to Airbus, this version of the aircraft will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in second half 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 9,700 nautical miles. These changes 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 from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets. With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tons, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop.
At the end of March 2018, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide. Singapore Airlines, which has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, intends to use them for non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.
The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.
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.