Airbus has secured European certification for the A350-1000 just three days shy of the first anniversary of the twinjet's maiden flight.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued a type certificate for the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97-powered aircraft, and the airframer expects US FAA approval to "follow shortly".
Qatar Airways will be the first airline to take delivery of the -1000 – the airframe MSN88 – by the end of the year, says Airbus commercial aircraft president Fabrice Bregier.
This aircraft will be transferred to the flight-line in early December, ahead of pre-delivery testing, says A350 chief engineer Alain de Zotti.
Airbus has orders for 169 A350-1000s accounting for around 20% of all firm A350 agreements.
Qatar Airways is the largest of the 11 identified customers for the -1000, with 37 in the backlog, ahead of Etihad Airways and Cathay Pacific which respectively hold orders for 22 and 20. A single aircraft is allocated to an undisclosed customer.
EASA has certified the -1000 with a maximum take-off weight of 308t, maximum landing weight of 233t and zero-fuel weight of 220t.
De Zotti says the aircraft is essentially intended to perform the same missions as the smaller A350-900, with the same typical 8,000nm range, but with some 40 additional seats in a standard three-class layout.
EASA has approved the -1000 for 385 passengers in its basic passenger emergency exit configuration, with up to 440 if this exclusively includes type-A doors. The aircraft requires a minimum of eight cabin crew.
As well as a stretched fuselage, the -1000 has a larger wing than the -900 owing to a modified trailing edge, and it also has six-wheel main landing-gear bogies.
Airbus has conducted over 1,600h of flight tests with the three certification airframes – the instrumented MSN59, MSN71 and the cabin-fitted MSN65 – including 150h with a single aircraft under typical airline operating conditions.
De Zotti says the -1000 has "behaved extremely well" during the handling-quality and performance testing, which examined the aerodynamics and the refinement of the flight controls for the jet.
"We're very happy with the performance," he adds. "We gave ourselves goals seven years ago and we've met or exceeded those goals."
These include weight and take-off targets, he says, as well as those for external noise.
Testing has shown that the -1000 will deliver the 25% fuel-burn reduction over the Boeing 777-300ER, says A350 marketing head Maria-Luisa Lucas-Ugena.
EASA has approved the -1000 as a variant of the A330, in terms of cockpit crew training. Airbus says the -1000 has 95% common systems part numbers with the -900.
Airbus first flew the -1000 on 24 November last year and Fabrice Bregier describes completion of certification in less than 12 months as "an incredible achievement".