No, this is not a long desert crossing for the A350 XWB. It is quite the opposite. The Airbus long-haul has just completed hot weather testing at Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, a hundred kilometres east of Abu Dhabi.
These tests were to assess the proper functioning of the engines and systems during a long flight followed by a long immobilization on the tarmac at temperatures well above 40 degrees Celsius.
With this new conclusive test, the A-350-900 is approaching its civil certification, which the manufacturer is eagerly expecting, for obvious reasons, by October. To date, four prototypes have made nearly 500 flights totalling more than 2,000 hours in the air.
Until now, Airbus test pilots have never previously conducted such an intensive programme of, on average, 80 hours per aircraft per month, and since 20th., June, they now have a fifth test A-350.
This aircraft, equipped with a cabine, will have to conduct endurance flights around the planet until the end of August. The manufacturers are poised to certify their new aircraft, as planned, within 14 months.
Assembly of the first two production aircraft is now almost complete, with probable delivery to Qatar Airways before the end of the year.