Europe's newest passenger jet, the Airbus A350 plane has landed safely after its first test flight.

After just over four hours in the air on Friday, the new plane touched down to cheers from Airbus employees and hundreds of aviation enthusiasts who had assembled on a nearby hill to watch the landmark flight.

Watched by more than 10,000 employees and spectators, the plane, with its distinctive curled wingtips, took off under cloudy skies, with a crew of six wearing parachutes and orange jumpsuits, as well as several tonnes of test equipment.

The flight, with two British and French former fighter pilots at the controls, caps eight years of development estimated to be worth $15bn.

Coming three days ahead of the Paris Airshow, the long-awaited flight is a milestone for Airbus as it battles against Boeing's 787 Dreamliner for sales of a new generation of lightweight carbon-composite jets designed to save fuel and open new long-distance routes.

Source: Reuters