Airbus is facing two more important test milestones before the A350 can be certified in early September. The manufacturer is preparing for the maximum energy rejected take-off test and also for an extensive route proving campaign that is to start later this month.

The maximum energy rejected take-off eight test is to be undertaken next week in Istres/France. The aircraft will be accelerated to around 170 knots at its maximum weight of around 275 tons. Brakes installed will be almost entirely worn down to satisfy certification requirements and the pilots will not use reverse thrust to slow down the aircraft. The aircraft has already passed the high energy rejected take-off test which is done at a thrust setting of around 80%.

Separately, Airbus is preparing MSN005 for a three week route proving campaign that is to start later this month. According to Fernando Alonso, head of the Airbus flight test division, close to 30 flights and around 200 flight hours are planned. The aircraft will fly to destinations including Hongkong, Singapore, Sydney, Auckland, Santiago de Chile, Johannesburg, Iqualuit and Frankfurt. It will be operated by pilots from Airbus, customer airlines and airworthiness authorities and there will be a limited number of passengers on board. Among the flights are four return services between Singapore and Hong Kong with very short ground times in between. Part of the route proving campaign will simulate short turn-arounds as the aircraft will experience in airline operations, but there will also be overnight stops.

Alonso is confident that Airbus will be able to have the A350 certified in September as planned. The first aircraft is to be delivered to Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter. Airbus does not confirm a precise date yet, but it is believed to be handed over to Qatar at the end of November.

Once flight testing and certification is completed, Airbus plans to keep MSN001 permanently and MSN002 until mid-2015, the other three test aircraft are to be reconfigured for airline operations sooner.