The latest member of Airbus’ market-leading widebody product line – the A350 XWB jetliner – took centre stage in the fast-growing Asian market during its successful 11-day demonstration tour, which was performed ahead of the first customer delivery, planned before year-end.
Using its MSN005 A350-900 developmental aircraft, Airbus debuted the A350 XWB – already a world traveler as a result of its certification and global route-proving campaigns – in five new Asian destinations: Seoul, Tokyo, Hanoi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, before it arrived back in Toulouse, France today.
Throughout this trip, Airbus underscored the highly-efficient widebody jetliner’s superior operating economics and high levels of passenger comfort, which was highlighted during the visits of key customers, invited airline guests, industry officials, journalists and bloggers.
More than 4,000 people came aboard the aircraft during its Asian stopovers, with 375 of them given the A350 XWB experience during demonstration flights.
Featuring the latest in aerodynamic design, advanced materials – including an airframe comprised of 53 percent composites – and fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 XWB offers a 25 percent reduction in fuel burn, as well as lower emissions and maintenance costs for operators.
Visitors to MSN005 also were able to experience first-hand the A350 XWB’s “xtra” wide cabin, which provides more personal space in all classes – including Airbus’ modern comfort standard of at least 18-inch-wide seats in economy, the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems, wide panoramic windows, large overhead stowage compartments and precise temperature control.
Even before its commercial service entry, the A350 XWB already is a star in the Asia-Pacific market, with approximately one-third of its 750 total orders coming from operators in this region – placed by such world-class carriers as AirAsia X, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines.
The first A350-900 version is scheduled to be delivered to global launch customer Qatar Airways before the end of 2014, with the initial aircraft for Vietnam Airlines – which will become the second A350 XWB operator, and first in Asia – now in final assembly in preparation for a planned mid-2015 handover.