The Airbus A350-1000 successfully completed its first ‘Early Long Flight’ with 310 passengers on board, including 10 Airbus Flight Test crew members and 13 Virgin Atlantic cabin crew, Airbus reports.

Test aircraft MSN065 took off from Toulouse and landed back there again on May 11 after a 12-hour flight. During the long-haul flight the passengers were first to experience the A350-1000. The early passengers were invited to try out and test the cabin systems, including air conditioning, lighting, acoustics, in-flight entertainment, galleys, electrics, washrooms and water waste systems.

Though not part of the technical certification programme, the Early Long Flight allows Airbus to assess the cabin environment and systems in-flight and optimise cabin procedures ready for entry into full service.

Airbus says the “intensive A350-1000 certification testing is progressing well and on track to reach Type Certification followed by Entry Into Service in [the] second half of 2017.”

The A350-1000 is the latest member of the Airbus widebody family, and has many similarities with the A350-900, with “95% common systems part numbers”. However, as well as having a longer fuselage to accommodate 40 more passengers than the A350-900, the A350-1000 also features a modified wing trailing-edge, new six-wheel main landing gears and more powerful Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines.

A statement from Airbus said: “The A350-1000 embodies all of the fuel efficiency and ‘Airspace’ cabin comfort of the original A350-900 – but with extra size perfectly tailored for our customers on some of their busiest long-haul routes. To date 12 customers from five continents have placed orders for a total of 211 A350-1000s.”