Aircraft Profile: Airbus A350
The 270-350-seat A350 XWB is Airbus’s new long-range widebody twinjet designed to compete against Boeing’s 777 as well as the larger 787 variants.
After initially basing the A350 design around the existing A330 twinjet, Airbus initiated a major review in 2006 which resulted in the all-new A350 XWB. The XWB has an all-new fuselage that is 33cm wider (outside diameter) than that of the A330/A340 and more than 60% of the XWB’s structure is made from new materials, predominantly carbonfibre – which is used extensively in the wing and for the fuselage skin panels.
Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the A350 has a range of up to 15,400km (8,300nm) and will offer fuel savings of up to 30% compared with today’s similarly sized aircraft.
Design freeze is planned for late 2008, with the first A350 variant, the -900, scheduled to make its first flight in 2012. Airbus is targeting a mid-2013 in-service date for the 314-seat -900 model with launch customer Qatar Airways. The smaller, 270-seat -800 will follow in 2014 and the 350 seat -1000 in 2015. In the longer term, ultra-long-range and freighter variants of the A350-900 are planned for 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Did you know?
Rolls-Royce is the only engine manufacturer to have an agreement with Airbus to offer its engine on the A350 XWB. Talks continue with GE about an engine, and the Engine Alliance has emerged as a potential supplier of an alternative powerplant.