The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new family of widebody aircraft that is shaping the future of medium- to long-haul airline operations – overcoming the challenges of volatile fuel prices, matching rising passenger expectations and addressing increasing environmental concerns.
This new-generation jetliner – which entered commercial service in January 2015 – offers seating capacities between 280-366 with its three passenger versions: A350-800, A350-900 and A350-1000.
The A350 XWB is setting a new standard of efficiency in its class, with 25 per cent lower fuel consumption compared to its current aluminium long-range competitors. It also brings a new level of passenger comfort, with more personal space and 18-inch wide seats as standard in Economy. With the Ultra-Long Range configuration for the A350-900, the A350 XWB demonstrates its versatility by offering the capability to perform flights of up to 19 hours.
For Airbus’ newest widebody jetliner, it’s the “Xtra” that makes the difference.
The A350 XWB’s 220-inch fuselage cross-section was specifically designed for an optimum travel experience in all classes of service – providing ample room to incorporate the widest seats of any jetliner in its category, while also allowing greater lateral movement and more personal space for passengers on long-range flights.
Adding to the pleasant atmosphere is the A350 XWB’s cabin design, which incorporates smooth curves, flowing lines, innovating lighting and wide windows; with straighter side walls and a flat floor in the cabin further increasing overall comfort and spaciousness.
By offering an extra inch of width compared to the 1960s-era 17-inch seat standard – when people were smaller and long-haul flights were rarely more than five hours – Airbus is focused on meeting the modern requirements of travellers, as long-range flights are now more frequent and cover greater distances. The A350 XWB also provides more space at shoulder level, as well as overhead stowage space for two roller-bags per passenger in business class.
A number of other key elements help Airbus’ A350 XWB deliver a more relaxing flight. Among them are this jetliner’s high-precision air management system; exterior noise levels that are as much as 21 EPNdB (Effective Perceived Noise Decibel) below ICAO Capter-4 requirements; and its fourth-generation in-flight entertainment systems with individual seat monitors.
• For related information, see the A350 XWB “Onboard well-being” page on Airbus.com.
Airbus brought a new level of intelligence to the A350 XWB through its integration of robust and efficient state-of-the-art systems, which also increased reliability and lowered maintenance requirements. The use of fully-electrical three-axis flight controls provides enhanced flight safety, reduced pilot workload and a reduction in mechanical parts; and the Airbus-developed fully duplex network backbone improves data exchange capabilities aboard the aircraft.
A corresponding emphasis on having fewer systems overall – for example, the A350 XWB incorporates two hydraulic circuits, compared to three on most other Airbus aircraft – helps reduce weight and complexity, while maintaining safety.
The A350 XWB’s all-new fuselage – built with carbon-fibre reinforce plastic (CFRP) – supports lower fuel burn, easier maintenance and increased resistance to corrosion. Simultaneously, the jetliner’s wings are more efficient and quieter due to their advanced design, and are able to adapt while airborne – tailoring it for maximum aerodynamic efficiency in the various phases of flight.
Other highly-innovative elements on the A350 XWB include its improved flight deck dimensions, built around an arrangement of six identical, interchangeable large displays; the state-of-the-art Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which outperforms competitors in terms of fuel economy, emissions and overall efficiency; and the latest in-flight entertainment systems.
Airbus has also applied its philosophy for continuous innovation to the A350 XWB – incorporating enhancements to the highly-efficient jetliner to expand its capabilities in-service. One example is the A350-900ULR (Ultra Long Range) version, optimized for flights up to 19 hours. This aircraft includes: a modified fuel system in the existing fuel tank, and an increase in maximum takeoff weight.
• Learn more about innovation on the A350 XWB “Technology” page on Airbus.com.
Collaboration has been at the heart of Airbus innovation throughout the company’s 40-plus-year history, and this spirit has taken a major step forward on the A350 XWB – which is a new-generation jetliner designed with the market, for the market.
As a true “citizen of the world,” it takes advantage of contributions from the four primary European nations to which the company owes its existence: France, Germany, Spain and the UK; as well as Airbus’ extended teams working in the United States, China, Russia and India. Harmonized sets of design and engineering tools, along with common practices, ensured an organised, efficient process throughout the design and development phases, and will play a key role in the production rate ramp-up.
Through its A350 XWB collaborative framework, Airbus provided certain suppliers a stronger and more integrated involvement in the aircraft's development, production and support. Customers also had an important role through a comprehensive review and feedback process, with a total of 25 customer focus groups created to cover subjects ranging from airport operations to flight deck design.
Throughout the A350 XWB development process, Airbus put high-level considerations on meeting environmental standards and eco-efficiency targets throughout the entire product lifecycle – a “win-win” strategy that is good for business and planet Earth.
Airbus brings together the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies in the A350 XWB to provide a 25 per cent step-change in fuel efficiency compared to its current long-range competitor. Contributing to this performance are the A350 XWB’s Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which have the lowest carbon emissions of any widebody powerplant; as well as jetliner’s innovative all-new Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) fuselage.
The A350 XWB is a quieter jetliner thanks in large part to its use of Automatic Noise Abatement Departure Procedure (NADP), which optimises the thrust and flight path to reduce noise over crowded areas; while energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) lighting leads to overall reductions in both weight and energy consumption.
Contributing to an eco-efficient manufacturing process, Airbus has replaced the standard chrome-plating process with a thermal spray alternative; uses a new base coat/clear coat painting process that requires less paint and less solvent; and in its production facilities, leverages such innovations as a biomass boiler, photovoltaic arrays, a rainwater recovery system and more.
Xtra-optimised industrial process
The production process for Airbus’ A350 XWB is characterized by highly-efficient operations from start-to-finish – enabling the company to move faster into the ramp-up phase.
Components built by the worldwide supplier network are provided to Airbus’ European production locations in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, where they are integrated into the aircraft’s major sections: fuselage, wings, engines and the tail. These equipped sections are then pre-tested before being transported to Toulouse, France, where A350 XWBs are built on the optimised final assembly line.
To ensure the A350 XWB’s reliability from the moment it entered airline service, Airbus implemented one of the most thorough test programmes ever developed for a jetliner – which utilized two key elements, among others: a ground-based systems integration test bench known as the “Iron Bird;” and “Aircraft 0,” which resulted from linking integration simulators to the test bench, and simulates a wide range of in-flight scenarios.
Xtra revenue generator
The A350 XWB is a highly cost-effective jetliner, with its key improvements in fuel efficiency, maintenance costs and reliability translating to a better bottom line for its growing operator base.
The aircraft's 25 per cent reduction in fuel consumption when compared with the competition stems from three qualities designed into the A350 XWB: lower weight through the extensive application of composite materials and advanced metallic alloys; enhanced operational efficiency resulting from its refined aerodynamics; and the use of new engines incorporating state-of-the-art propulsion technology.
The A350 XWB’s Xtra-wide fuselage – which facilitates the widest seats of any jetliner in its category – ensures maximum comfort for passengers and crew, while guaranteeing operators the optimum revenue potential and operating efficiency.
Other factors making the A350 XWB an “Xtra revenue generator” are the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which enable double-digit savings for operators; streamlined maintenance and reduced costs, due to Airbus’ focus on improved and simplified systems; its intelligent airframe; four-panel concept and more.
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Did you know?
- More than half of the A350 XWB is made up of carbon-fibre material
- The A350 XWB’s full-LED lighting systems can project over 16.7 million different colours, plus an infinite number of colour combinations
- The overall wing area of Airbus’ A350 XWB covers more space than two tennis courts
- Inspired by birds, the A350 XWB’s wings have been designed to adapt during flight, morphing while airborne and changing their shape to reduce fuel burn
- The A350 XWB is the first aircraft to “wear sunglasses,” referring to this jetliner’s distinctive cockpit windows
- The diameter of the A350 XWB Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine is equivalent to that of the famed Concorde supersonic airliner’s fuselage