The first test flight of the A350 XWB, the jetliner designed by Airbus to compete with Boeing’s Dreamliner, was a success, the company says.
The plane took off from Toulouse at 10 a.m. Friday morning, and flew for just over four hours with a team of two pilots and four test engineers on board. Flying over southwestern France, they tested the A350 at various speeds and in different maneuvers.
Like the Boeing Dreamliner, the A350 is made primarily of composite materials (instead of metal). It represents an effort to achieve new levels passenger comfort, aerodynamics, and fuel efficiency.
This is the first step in a test campaign in which five A350s will log 2,500 flight hours.
Airbus expects to begin deliveries of the new plane in the second half of 2014. Qatar Airways will be the first customer, and the planemaker will likely announce more orders next week, at the Paris Air Show.
Here are a few photos from the maiden flight:
You can watch the entire test flight here:
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