Powered by two hulking Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, you’d expect to hear more than just a low whirring noise when tearing down the runway. We’re talking about Airbus A350XWB.
But when leaving the ground and heading into the clear blue skies of a Hong Kong morning, there was little else to hear on the newest addition to commercial aviation.
Most of the select few passengers on board flight AIB 206 to Singapore were from the plane’s manufacturer; part of a dedicated team undertaking the final tests to make sure the aircraft is certified to enter service in December with its first customer, Qatar Airways.
The flight was part of Airbus’s A350XWB “route proving” trip, something akin to a world tour where existing and potential customers can take a look at the goods first hand, while the engineers continue to test and tinker.
Named MSN005, the aircraft that flew across the South China Sea, the Malaysian peninsula and Sumatra, is one of only two of the fleet of five test planes kitted out with a full cabin, so the flight was a good indication of what’s in store for millions of passengers in the coming years.
Seating four abreast in the 42-seat business class sections, nine abreast in the two economy cabins, this is the future of long-haul travel as presented by the European plane maker.
It’s a competitor to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and new iterations of the 777 and Airbus hope it’ll take up a sizeable chunk of the world’s expanding fleet of twin-aisle aircraft.
At first glance, the gleaming cabin looks simply like a FULL ARTICLE