With the first A350-1000 delivered, Airbus can concentrate on the next variant of the A350 – the A350-900ULR.
ULR in this case means “Ultra Long Range”
The A350-900ULR will enter service initally with Singapore Airlines in 2018, with the airline considering flights between Singapore and New York on a non-stop basis.
Singapore Airlines have ordered seven of the Ultra Long Range aircraft.
As you can see, the airframe has been assembled, with the frame due to commence ground testing prior to the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines being installed.
As per any new aircraft – the plane will embark on a test programme – with this one focusing the changes over the standard A350-900 to allow it to fly the extra range (with promises to lift 24,000 litres, without any additional fuel tanks)
The test phase will also measure enhanced performance derived from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.
As for range, with the plane having a a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the A350 XWB Ultra Long Range is capable of flying up to 9,700 nautical miles or over 20 hours non-stop,
Which gives the plane a very big global reach.
So far, Singapore Airlines are the only planned operator of the type – but this might have they eyes of some Gulf carriers, and those who have the mission requirement for ultra long-haul non-stop travel.
However – 20 hours cooped up in a carbon fibre and metal tube is an awful long time in the air…
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