The battle between two lightweight aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, is officially underway, as about 10,000 spectators gathered to view the Airbus A350 make its maiden flight on Friday in Toulouse, France, Reuters reports. The flight lasted four hours. The A350 will be subjected to rigorous flight tests over the next 12 to 13 months.
While Boeing was the first manufacturer to make use of composites to make a lightweight aircraft for better fuel efficiency and to lighten the carbon footprint left by airplanes, Airbus remains hopeful that the quietness of its twin Rolls-Royce engines will differentiate the Airbus A350 from Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Boeing has sold more aircraft to date, having sold 833 airplanes versus Airbus’s 613 to date.
Competition for wide-bodied jets is expected to dominate next week's Paris Airshow, where the A350 has its sights on another fly-by when French President Francois Hollande visits the event on Friday, if tests continue to go well.