First flight of Airbus A350 reopens wide-body race

Jun 14, 2013, 6:50 AM EDT
The Airbus A350 takes off on its maiden flight at Blagnac airport near Toulouse, southwestern France, Friday, June 14, 2013.
(AP Photo/Bob Edme)

PARIS (AP) — The Airbus A350 has taken off on its maiden flight, setting the stage for intensifying competition with U.S. rival Boeing in the long-haul wide-body aircraft market.

Friday's flight from Toulouse is to last about four hours and marks a key step on the path to full certification. More than half of the A350 — Airbus' first all-new plane in eight years — is made up of lightweight carbon-fiber designed to save on jet fuel, which makes up half the cost of long-haul flights


Boeing, still recovering from problems with the lithium batteries on its 787 Dreamliner, currently dominates the long-haul market with the 787 and 777.

"The first flight is a very special moment in an aerospace company," Tom Enders, CEO of parent company EADS, said late Thursday.