Europe's largest passenger plane makes maiden flight

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Europe's largest passenger plane makes maiden flight

Europe’s largest twin-engined passenger jet has taken to the skies for the first time.

The Airbus A350-1000 is seeking to hog the limelight from Boeing’s popular 777.

It is a larger cousin to the new-generation A350-900, which entered service last year.

Both are built from similar materials to Boeing’s mid-sized 787 Dreamliner.

The stats

The lightweight, carbon-fibre A350-1000 is seven metres longer than the A350s already in service.

It has 366 seats and can carry 40 more people.

Debut flight

The aircraft began its three-hour debut flight from Toulouse in France just after 0940 GMT.

It was watched by some of the airline bosses who have invested in the 356 million US dollar jet.

The aircraft involved is one of three test planes facing a winter of intensive flight testing before the A350-1000 enters service in the second half of 2017.

The business

The aircraft is designed to break Boeing’s virtual monopoly in the lucrative “mini-jumbo” segment.

This typically involves large, twin-engined jets carrying 350 people.

What they are saying

Fabrice Bregier, the chief executive of Airbus, says he is confident the A350-1000 will be delivered on time next year.

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