The extra large beast

In January, the A350 XWB will celebrate a year in operation so it makes perfect sense for the December/January issue of ATE&M to explore its record-breaking programme and significant triumphs.

Before you can get your hands on the full report out later this year, we’re going to shine a spotlight on a few of its milestones as well as the standout technologies seen on-board the aircraft, which together make the A350 XWB an exceptional machine.

Since Airbus announced its A350 XWB programme it has been the talk of the town. With fantastic wings, both technically and aesthetically, and an improvement in fuel efficiency of 25 per cent, it really is an innovation to be proud of.

Launch customer, Qatar Airways took to the skies with its first A350 – one of 80 ordered by airline – on January 15, 2015, and just days ago (October 9) its first European operator, Finnair began its commercial services with a European tour starting from Amsterdam and Oslo.

It’s clear that the widebody aircraft, which boasts an impressive extra wide fuselage cross-section measuring 221 inches, is one aircraft that operators both far and wide are in a hurry to add to their fleets. And, we can see why.

With improved passenger comfort and top class cabins that allow for an extra inch in seat width, not to mention the significant fuel-, money- and emission-saving qualities it offers, the A350 XWB is, to many people, the future of flying.

However, Airbus’ mission to innovate didn't end when the -900 entered into service earlier this year, as the OEM is progressing steadily with the largest variation of the aircraft, the A350-1000.

This model will be powered by brand new Trent XWB-97 engines from Rolls-Royce, when it takes off in 2017, offering customers a reduction in CO2 emissions by 25 per cent.

Believe it or not, the new engines won’t be alone in wowing the masses when the aircraft comes to market, as the wings featured on today’s variation have been given a significant revamp to offer improved aerodynamics on the -1000. In fact, a mind-blowing 90 per cent of the -900 wing’s parts have been modified to give the -1000’s wings the ability to morph during flight.

Whether it’s the wings, the fuel savings or the sheer beauty of the A350 XWB that does it for you, there is no denying that Airbus has delivered yet another wonderful aircraft.

For a further look at the A350 XWB’s first year in operation read the next issue of ATE&M.

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