Airbus to fly XWB to Manila

Another Preview of the things to come

Toulouse - In a similar note to its A380 route proving development programme, Airbus revealed that it will fly its 5th A350-900 frame to Singapore, Manila, Ho Chi Minh, and Bangkok in South East Asia as part of its long flight demonstration and promotions tour in 2012.

The -900 is the lead XWB variant and final assembly of the first aircraft is due to start in Toulouse by mid-2011, with first flight scheduled to follow "eight to nine months" later in the first quarter of 2012, says A350 Programme Chief Didier Evrard.

The A50 XWB's flight test programme will involve five aircraft flying about 3,000 hours. The airframer intends to begin flight-testing a cabin-equipped aircraft early in the programme to understand the interior's behaviour in the carbonfibre fuselage.

Certification and service entry is due to follow a 15-month flight-test programme in mid-2013. Meanwhile, development of the smaller -800 and -1000 stretch continues in parallel, with service entry of these two variants due to follow one and two years, respectively, after the A350-900.

"All five aircraft will run in parallel to achieve a short flight test and certification time," says Evrard. "We are planning to put them all into the programme very quickly - within a couple of months."

Evrard says No 5 frame will be used for "early long flight" demonstrations to Asia and Australia, with non-simulated and simulated passenger flights, along similar lines to the A380 route proving test programme.

Although 15 months have been allocated to the flight-test programme, Evrard says the exercise could take as little as 12 months.

Two aircraft, No 2 and 5, will be equipped with a cabin, and No 6 will be the first delivered to a customer, he adds.

Only Singapore Airlines, Vietnam Airlines and Bangkok Airways has pending orders for the A350 variants, with 20 -900's for the former 10 for Vietnam, and 4 -800's for the latter. Philippine Airlines is currently in discussions with Airbus for 12 -900 frames on a two-class configuration for delivery in 2015.

Airbus Chief Salesman John Leahy hinted that they are close to sealing a deal with another Southeast Asian carrier but refused to divulged further details and directed instead to wait for the airline to make the formal announcements soon.

1 comment:

  1. It would be a great idea if the Philippine Airlines will have this new aircraft model, the A350-900 in addition to their current fleet and additional route. It will also require an additional employee which will help Filipino to get job.