Airbus is confident about the fuel-burn performance of its A350-900 following the initial test-flight phase, although it points out that it needs to operate longer sectors with the twinjet to provide better information.
Two flight-test airframes, MSN1 and MSN3, have conducted the initial aerodynamic envelope testing, while a third aircraft, the cabin-equipped MSN2, will be used to examine long cruise.
“We need very long flights to stabilise [the aircraft’s movements],” says Airbus chief executive Fabrice Bregier, adding that configurations of the A350 are still being tested.
“But we are pretty satisfied with what we’ve seen.”
He says there is some “fine tuning” to be carried out on the fuel burn and aerodynamics of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered aircraft, but that the “remaining gap” is “pretty limited”.
Bregier indicates that the last main area to be addressed is weight reduction of the A350 as it nears serial production, but says that there is “not much” weight to take out.