Airbus has debuted the A350-900 at the 12th Moscow air show (MAKS-2015) at least three years ahead of the first delivery to the type’s only customer in Russia.

Airbus A350 test pilot Frank Chapman piloted the A350-900 – MSN-001 – from Toulouse, France, landing on 24 August at the Ramenskoye airport that hosts the biannual air show.

“We’re really happy to arrive here with such fantastic weather,” Chapman told reporters after parking the A350 on the static line, minutes after his co-pilot waved the white Airbus flag from an open cockpit window.

The A350 arrives in Moscow as Russian customer Aeroflot continues to evaluate several details about its original order, including the timing and number of deliveries and the current mix of 14 A350-900s and eight A350-800s.

A350 at MAKS

Airbus flight test engineer Pascal Verneau and Aviasalon general director Vladimir Vlasov exchange welcoming gifts after the A350-900 arrives at MAKS. Copyright: Billypix

Airbus cancelled the A350-800 programme last year, and Aeroflot remains one of the few customers that have not decided what to do with its order.

But Aeroflot has vowed not to cancel the A350-900 order in full, as the SkyTeam carrier recently did with an deal for 22 Boeing 787s. Last year, Aeroflot expected to take delivery of the A350-900s between 2018 and 2020, but not does not discuss a timetable for the aircraft.

Supporting the carrier’s decision likely figured large in Airbus’ decision to bring the A350-900 to MAKS for the first time. The company’s engineering centre in Moscow also participated in the design of the A350-900, performing a stress analysis on the aft fuselage.

Airbus can expect to to be a star attraction at MAKS with one of the few non-Russian aircraft in the flying display. Chapman plans to perform an 8min flying display each day aimed at highlighting the aircraft’s maneouvrability, perhaps emulating the aircraft’s recent start turns at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in July and the Paris air show in June.

Meanwhile, Aviasalon, the MAKS host organsiation, is “very happy to welcome” the aircraft after “several months of negotiations with Airbus” to arrange the visit, says general director Vladimir Vlasov.

Source: Cirium Dashboard