European aircraft maker Airbus has started the delivery of the first A350 XWBs that feature touchscreen cockpit displays.

China Eastern Airlines has become the first carrier to own the A350 XWB equipped with the new device.

The new touchscreen cockpit display was developed in collaboration with Thales. The device is expected to offer enhanced operational efficiencies, greater crew interaction, cockpit symmetry and smoother information management.

Out of the aircraft cockpit’s six large screens, three can be opted for touch capability, two outer displays and a lower-centre display.

The manufacturer has so far received orders from around 20 airlines for the new technology.

Airbus A350 XWB programme head Patrick Piedrafita said: “Airbus continues to set the industry trends in aircraft cockpit design with these new interactive touchscreen displays in the A350 XWB.

“With our partner Thales we are very proud to bring this technology to our customers, to enhance their aircrews’ operations.”

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Certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last month, the new technology supports ‘pinch-zooming’ and panning gestures.

It will also offer flexibility and better communication between both pilots before take-off, during in-flight and approach preparation.

Additionally, it minimises the workload of pilots by eliminating multiple cursor inputs and turn over between different displays.

Powered by Rolls-Royce engines, A350 XWB delivers a 25% reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. It has the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fibre fuselage and wings.

Until November this year, the A350 XWB Family received 959 firm orders from 51 customers.

Airbus has begun delivering A350 XWB aircraft with pioneering new touchscreen cockpit displays.