European regulators have certificated the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine ahead of the planned first flight of the Airbus A350 later this year.

Patrick Goudou, EASA's executive director, handed over the powerplant's type certificate to Chris Young, Rolls-Royce's director for the Trent XWB programme, at the European authority's headquarters in Cologne, Germany, on 7 February.

The approval covers the engines for the baseline A350-900 and planned smaller -800 variant. But the largest A350-1000 will require a higher thrust version of the engine which is still under development.

Airbus plans to conduct the first flight of the twinjet - which is exclusively powered by the Trent XWB - in the middle of this year.

The engines for the A350 prototype have already been delivered to airframer's final assembly line in Toulouse.

Rolls-Royce says that the certification programme involved 11 engines and led to a total runtime of around 3,100 hours.

Ground tests began in 2010 in the UK, while flight trials started on Airbus's A380 test bed in February 2012.

The certification programme included icing tests in Canada, hot weather trials in the UAE, altitude and crosswind assessments in the USA, and endurance tests in Spain.

Deliveries of the A350 are scheduled to begin in the second half 2014.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news