Airbus' all-new A350 XWB heads for Auckland

A350 XWB

Airbus’ rival to the new generation Boeing Dreamliner has landed in Sydney on its global tour that includes Auckland.

The A350 XWB (extra wide-bodied) touched down at Kingsford Smith International airport earlier today after flying from Johannesburg, South Africa.

The aircraft is operated by Airbus flight crews and while in Sydney a representative airline schedule operation has to be demonstrated such as normal airline turnarounds using airport handling services.

It will fly on to Auckland later today for a similar ground demonstration tomorrow.

The tests form part of the final trials required for aircraft Type Certification, which is expected by the end of September.

The aircraft, named A350-900 (MSN 5), is one of five A350 test aircraft one of two with 265 seats (42 business and 223 economy).

The world tour began on July 24 and involves a series of tests on four different trips. It will visit 14 airports around the world and will end on August 13.

Airbus says the aircraft offers a 25% reduction in fuel use and comes in three versions from 276 to 369 seats.

It has a carbon fibre fuselage and wings, the same as its Boeing rival, which has been bought by Air New Zealand.

The national carrier has switched to Airbus A320s to replace its single-aisled Beoing 737 fleet.

At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.

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