Airbus announced European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification for the A350-900 widebody on September 30. The manufacturer said U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification should follow shortly. It is on track to make a first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways before the end of this year and has now stated final assembly of the first of ten A350s for Vietnam Airlines, with deliveries to begin in the middle of next year.
EASA executive director Patrick Ky signed the type certificate document and awarded it to Airbus managers during a ceremony at the company's headquarters in Toulouse, France. The A350-900 is the first Airbus passenger aircraft with a new design to be entirely certified by the EASA, starting with Airbus’s application in 2007, the agency said. During the certification program, the EASA established 16 technical panels consisting of 40 engineers and test pilots. The agency reviewed and accepted nearly 700 certification documents.
“We dealt with a very mature aircraft,” Ky said in a statement. “Airbus and EASA have learned from experience and have established pragmatic working methods which have proved to be the recipe for the successful type certification and the way forward for future certification programs. I wish a long and safe journey to the A350 program throughout its life in service.”
Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350-900 can carry 315 passengers 7,750 nm. Airbus said its fleet of five test aircraft accumulated more than 2,600 flight-test hours.
Qatar Airways has ordered 43 A350-900s as well as 37 A350-1000s. It expects delivery of its first -900 by the end of the year. Airbus said it had orders for 750 A350s from 39 customers as of the end of May.