Airbus has rolled out the first A350-900 ultra-long range version from the final assembly line (FAL) in Toulouse. The latest A350 XWB family variant will be able to fly farther than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines (SIA) later this year.

According to Airbus, the A350-900ULR includes a modified fuel system to increase fuel-carrying capacity, an increased maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and aerodynamic improvements.

SIA has ordered seven A350-900 ULR aircraft, which it will use on nonstop flights between Singapore and the US, including service between Singapore and New York.

Following completion of the airframe assembly, Airbus said the first aircraft has now moved to an outdoor station where it will undergo extensive ground tests, prior to installation of its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

The aircraft will then embark on a short flight test program to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will bring the additional range capability. These include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 liters (6,340 gallons), without the need for additional fuel tanks. Airbus said the test phase will also measure enhanced performance derived from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.

Linda Blachly