Airbus A350-1000 Visits Manila

As part of a demonstration tour that spanned several countries in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region, the Airbus A350-1000 made a stop at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport on February 15-16.  

Airbus A350-1000
Image by Clemens Vasters/Wikimedia
The test aircraft used for the tour, MSN065, arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from Tokyo at 11.58 pm on February 14.  Senior officials from the Department of Transportation, as well as representatives of Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific took part in the tour.  

Before stopping in Manila, MSN065 visited Doha, Muscat, Hong Kong, Seoul, Taipei, Hanoi, Singapore, Bangkok, Sydney, Auckland, and Tokyo.  It was also on static display on February 6-8 for the 2018 Singapore Airshow.  Manila was the final stop in the tour.  MSN065 left Manila at 1.48 pm back for Tolouse on February 16.     

Such tours are intended to promote the A350-1000 to potential buyers.  Currently, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific have each lodged orders for the aircraft.  Qatar Airways is expected to receive the first of its 30 A350-1000s on February 20.  Philippine Airlines COO Jaime Bautista, who was on the tour, said the flag carrier is considering the A350-1000.  The carrier already has six firm A350-900 orders, delivery of which will begin in the middle of this year.  Although Cebu Pacific was part of the tour, its representatives said that it has 'no plans' of ordering this new aircraft, instead saying that it is focused on receiving A321 current and new engine option aircrafts starting in March.  All-in-all, 14 major carriers in the Asia Pacific have ordered at least one variant of the A350XWB family. 

The tours are also intended to test the reliability and airworthiness of an aircraft especially as it intends to fly over long distances.  MSN065 has been fitted with generic business and economy class cabins.  Additionally, an array of testing equipment has been installed across different parts of the aircraft so that engineers could monitor its progress from a purpose-built station found in the middle of the aircraft.  They include equipment to for instance test temperature and humidity.   

The A350-1000's fuselage is 74 metres long, which is 40% longer than the A350-900.  In a typical three-class configuration, it can hold up to 366 passengers and fly up to 7,950 nautical miles.  It is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines and also features a wing-trailing edge and six-wheel main landing gears.

Airbus believes that one of its A350-1000s main advantages against previous generation aircraft is fuel efficiency whereby 25 percent less carbon is emitted.  Additionally, it is said to be 25 percent cheaper to operate compared to previous generation aircraft

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