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Airbus tour stops by NZ

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 15:45 28/07/2014
Airbus A350
Reuters

BRAND NEW: An Airbus A350 XWB flight-test aircraft is towed during a media-day at the German headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Hamburg.

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Airbus' newest aircraft, the A350-900, will visit Auckland next month as part of a round-the-world test flight.

The A350 is Airbus' response to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, but has not yet entered service.

The state-of-the-art aircraft is the latest addition to the Airbus mid-sized long-range widebody series and like its 787 rival features a carbon fibre fuselage and wings.

Airbus claims the twin-engine jet is 25 per cent more fuel efficient than similar sized older models it replaces.

To gain certification one of five test aircraft will embark on three weeks of route proving flights including four trips throughout the world from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France, the first of which started on Friday morning.

On August 6 the A350 will arrive in Auckland from Sydney as part of its third trip before flying to Santiago, Chile.

The world tour includes 14 major airports and one route via the North Pole. The route-proving tests are to demonstrate readiness for operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services checks. 

Some flights will have passengers on board. The aircraft will feature a fully functional cabin with 42 business class and 223 economy class seats.

The A350 range will include three models ranging in size from 276 to 369 seats.

At the end of June Air bus had 742 orders for the aircraft from 38 customers.

The first A350 will be delivered to Qatar Airways towards the end of the year.

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