Airbus flew in one of the test A350s from Toulouse, France late Sunday evening and put it on display for the media and employees at American. The Fort Worth-based carrier has 22 A350-900 XWB aircraft on order with the first delivery expected in 2017.
The aircraft in Fort Worth is the second A350 off the Airbus assembly line and is on its way to Florida to a climate temperature testing facility. It is the only test aircraft that has economy and business class seats inside in addition to the flight testing equipment.
The A350 has a composite fuselage which reduces cabin noise and can fit up to 315 seats with 9 across in economy class in a 3-3-3 configuration. The overhead storage compartments are larger and the aircraft has panoramic windows and mood lighting.
"This cabin is a good bit wider than the A330 we fly today," said Captain John Dudley, an Airbus pilot for American. "We've worked very closely [with Airbus] to try to determine how we can design something that is even more efficient than today's aircraft and more reliable than today's aircraft."
With a range of 8,500 nautical miles, the A350 can be used on commercial flights that last about 14 hours, Dudley said.
The planes that will be delivered to American are part of an order made by US Airways prior to the two carriers' merger in December.