The Airbus A350 family of widebody airliners is proving to be a great success with carriers being attracted by its ultra long range and greatly reduced operating costs. Nigel Price summarises the type’s history, and looks at what the future might hold for this impressive aircraft.

Qatar Airways was the launch customer for the -900 and the -1000 versions of the A350. Illustrated is A350-1000 A7-ANA (nearest to the camera) in formation with -900 A7- ALY. P Masclet/Airbus

On September 22, crowds gathered at Toulouse to witness the gleaming Airbus A350-900 Ultra Long Range (ULR) F-WZNY/9VSGA taxi out from his hardstanding, and power down the runway at the start of its journey to launch customer Singapore Airlines (SIA). This flight marked a major milestone in the European manufacturer’s history – its new model, designed to fly enormous distances non-stop, was about to enter service.

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