The fifth and final Airbus A350-900 flight-test article took to the skies for the first time Friday, marking the start of the last phase of the 2,500-hour certification program. The second passenger cabin-equipped A350, MSN005 embodies the “operationally definitive” configuration for flight test duties, said Airbus. Plans call for it to perform route proving and ETOPS validation ahead of certification in the third quarter of this year and first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter.
Airbus A350-900 flight test aircraft MSN3 has completed hot weather testing in Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, Airbus announced Wednesday.
Sales of single-aisle airplanes completely filled the May order books for both Airbus and Boeing this year, increasing narrowbody backlogs for both companies despite feverish production activity. The European airframer added 70 aircraft to its order book in May through transactions with both airline customers and leasing companies for its A320 product line, while U.S. manufacturer drew orders for ninety-nine 737s, primarily from unidentified customers.
In July Qatar Executive (Booth 415) will add a second Bombardier Global 5000 Vision to its fleet. The corporate jet division of Qatar Airways will get the new aircraft just in time to meet the increased demand of the summer season. The operator received its first Global 5000 Vision in late 2013, having earlier bought two Global 5000s. The wholly-owned eight-aircraft fleet also includes three Challenger 605s and a Global XRS.
VIP cabins for narrowbody airliners have stuck to traditional approaches with little thought for the practicalities of aircraft. This is the basis upon which SR Technics (Booth 2425) set out to redefine the approach to cabin design based on what it sees as a changing customer base, with younger generations of travelers who are more casual and more tech-savvy.
Private charter operator Qatar Executive is set to open a new FBO at Doha’s Hamad International Airport shortly, having already moved its headquarters there. The company plans to strengthen its core Middle East, Far East and African markets next year, its new head, executive vice president David Edwards, told AIN.
Airbus has added Recaro and Sogerma passenger seats to the A350 supplier-furnished equipment catalog, which includes seats, galleys, cabin “monuments” and other items, but hopes to limit furnishing options to keep assembly lines flowing, officials said at the company’s unveiling of the airplane’s interior in Hamburg on April 7. It also emphasized increased width in the A350’s twin-aisle fuselage–thus boosting a claimed advantage over the competing Boeing 787–and confirmed that the twinjet will accommodate 10-abreast seating.
Bombardier Business Aircraft has two aircraft on display at Abu Dhabi Air Expo, both flying the colors of owners from the Gulf region. One is a Challenger 605, managed by Sharjah’s Gulf Wings and being shown on behalf of an unidentified Kuwaiti owner.
As the Airbus A350-900 twin-aisle twinjet makes its first full international airshow display here in Singapore this week, industry observers will be keen to understand the manufacturer’s plans for the smaller A350-800, which has seen a steady erosion of orders as customers have upgraded to the baseline model. With average aircraft seat capacity moving inexorably to the right, Airbus executives are also mulling a possible double-stretched variant beyond the longer A350-1000.
A leading Mubadala Aerospace MRO network member, SR Technics’ drive to expand out into the world is bearing fruit. Now able to claim 40 customers, among them operators as prominent as Singapore Airlines, EasyJet, Qatar Airways and South African Airways, the company is set on bringing its integrated MRO business to all points of the compass.