5 Aug 2014
Airservices air traffic controllers in Melbourne and Sydney helped guide the first Airbus A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body) to visit Australia into Sydney Airport this morning, where it landed on Runway 34L shortly after 6.30 am.
Using the call sign ‘Airbus 303’, the A350 prototype is in Australia as part of the aircraft’s long range route proving flight campaign ahead of entering commercial service with Qatar Airways by the end this year.
The A350 has been designed to be more fuel efficient and quieter than aircraft of comparative size. The new generation aircraft is also fitted with the latest satellite navigation and instrument landing equipment which offers airlines with improved surveillance in non-radar areas, more efficient flight routes and accurate landings in low visibility conditions.
The A350 is fitted with avionics which allows pilots to conduct approaches using the recently commissioned SmartPath precision approach landing system at Sydney Airport.
SmartPath allows suitably equipped aircraft to land within one metre of the runway centre line. Airservices used its own extensive experience in satellite navigation technology to partner with Honeywell Aerospace in developing the SmartPath system.
On departure from Sydney, Airservices Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) service ‘saluted’ the A350 with a ceremonial water arch as the aircraft taxied towards the runway.
Airservices ARFF perform water arches nationally to mark significant aviation events including new airline services, final flights and special ceremonies.
Approximately two hours after taking off from Sydney, Airservices air traffic controllers handed over the surveillance and management of the A350 to air traffic controllers at Airways New Zealand for guidance to land at Auckland Airport.