Airbus will undertake detailed analysis of the A350 XWB’s fuel burn and range performance with the first fully representative aircraft when it flies in May, but is confident that it is on course to achieve all its targets.

Airbus has brought the second of two A350 flight-test aircraft (MSN3) to the Singapore air show and expects two more aircraft (MSN2 and 4) to join the test programme this month. The type is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

“The aircraft here at the show is one of two full of instrumentation with no cabin interior,” says Fernando Alonso, senior vice-president flight and integration tests. “MSN2 will have a full cabin as will MSN5, which will join the programme in May.”

The first two aircraft have been used for some basic performance testing. MSN2 and 4 will also play a role in the process. However the test team will concentrate on MSN5 when it becomes available for definitive analysis, says Alonso.

“MSN5 will be the first ‘batch 2’ airplane built with production-standard engines, and we will fly a 2-3 month test campaign on that airplane which is mandatory to certificate everything related to ‘batch 2’ modifications and the engines,” says Alonso.

This aircraft will also be used for the route-proving programme to be flown in conjunction with launch customer Qatar Airways, from the airline’s Doha base.

“Batch 2” represents the production specification A350 with modifications mainly related to weight-saving, says Alonso. “We are on target for the weight with the ‘batch 2’ aircraft. I am very confident that we will deliver the payload and the range that we planned.”

The first A350 off the line for Qatar Airways will be MSN6.

Airbus says it is making “steady progress” towards type certification in the third quarter and it is confident that first deliveries to Qatar Airways and entry-into-service will take place before the end of the year.

See the latest news and views from this year's Singapore Airshow

Source: Cirium Dashboard