30 APRIL 2018
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The Ultra Long Range version of the Airbus A350 XWB, designated MSN 216, completed its first flight successfully last week, clearing the way for it to enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines (SIA) in the second half of this year.
Claimed to be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner, the aircraft is now on a short flight test programme to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 to extend its range to 17,960km (9,700nmi).
The changes include a modified fuel system to increase fuel-carrying capacity by 24,000 litres, without the need for additional tanks. The tests will also measure enhanced performance from aerodynamic changes, including extended winglets.
Airbus says with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the aircraft, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, can fly more than 20hr non-stop with optimum levels of passenger and crew comfort.
SIA has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it says 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 airline is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family after ordering a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models.
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