Airbus challenges Boeing: New A350 takes off on maiden flight from Toulouse

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

More than half of the plane is made up of lightweight carbon-fibre

The Airbus A350, Europe’s answer to Boeing’s Dreamliner, took to the air for the first time today, making its maiden flight out of Toulouse where it is assembled.

The plane’s wings were designed at an Airbus facility at Filton near Bristol, and are made at Broughton in Wales. It is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which Airbus claims will help it achieve fuel savings of about 25% over previous wide-bodied jets.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The A350-XWB’s maiden flight is significant for Airbus, Rolls-Royce and the aerospace industry — it shows the Government’s long-term Aerospace Industrial Strategy is the right approach to ensure the UK remains Europe’s number one aerospace manufacturer.”

Airbus has already taken more than 600 orders for the new plane; there have been 890 Dreamliner orders so far. First deliveries of the A350 are expected towards the end of 2014. Like the Dreamliner, the A350 is largely built using lightweight composite materials to improve fuel consumption.

The maiden flight took place hours after Japanese airline ANA cancelled a flight by one of its Dreamliners after an engine failed to start.

The Dreamliner has been hit by a series of problems, with Japanese flights only restarting on 1 June after a four-month grounding following problems with its batteries.

Watched by more than 10,000 employees and other spectators, the A350 took off under cloudy skies, with a crew of six wearing parachutes and orange jumpsuits.

The flight was scheduled to last four hours and caps eight years of development estimated to have cost $15 billion (£9.6 billion). “The first flight is a very special moment in an aerospace company,” said Tom Enders, chief executive of parent company Eads.

The firm is hoping to pick up more orders for its first new plane in eight years at next week’s Paris Air Show.

But Boeing is expected to confirm at the same show that it will build a  larger capacity Dreamliner, to carry up to 323 passengers. The current version can carry between 210 and 290 passengers.

Video: New Airbus 350 takes off

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project