Airbus has announced that its newest airliner, the Airbus A350-900, is in its final stage towards certification before the first plane is delivered to Qatar Airways later this year.
The aircraft is currently undertaking route proving tests which are designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services.
Some flights will have passengers on board, Airbus said, adding that the A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole.
The world tour using A350 MSN5 test aircraft forms part of the route proving for certification campaign.
The A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for Q3 this year. The first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, will follow towards the end of the year.
The three week trial started earlier this week in Toulouse, France, with the final trip taking in the Qatari capitl of Doha.
Today five development A350s are flying and are actively involved in the intensive flight test programme, which has already reached over 540 flights and 2,250 flight hours.
By the end of June, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.