Following approval by its shareholders, EADS and BAE Systems, Airbus has formally launched the new passenger long-range A350 aircraft, for which it has already received 140 firm order commitments from nine world-renowned customers*.
Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert, emphasizes the significance of the industrial launch of the A350, saying: "The A350 pursues the success story of the earlier Airbus types in an impressive manner by continuing to set the highest standards in term of aircraft design and innovation for the benefit of customers and operators. This new aircraft enlarges the Airbus Family and gives us the ability to respond to all long-range market needs, with the A380 for hub to hub, the A340 for the ultra long-range, and the A330 and now the new A350 for medium to very long-ranges, while offering unequalled operational efficiency and passenger comfort".
The A350 will be produced and assembled at the same facilities as the A330 and the A340, with however, additional risk-sharing partners and associates in China, Russia and other countries around the world. The market for aircraft in this size category is estimated at 3,300, including freighters, over the next 20 years, of which Airbus expects to obtain half.
Planned to enter service in 2010, the A350 Family will initially include two members. The A350-800 will carry 253 passengers in a standard three-class configuration up to 8,800nm/16,300km. Its larger sister, the A350-900, will accommodate as many as 300 passengers in a comparable three-class layout up to 7,500nm/13,900km. These new aircraft share the technologically advanced innovations of the A380 and are also endowed with the latest technologies, while benefiting from the Airbus family commonality. The A350 will initially be powered by General Electric?s new generation GEnx 1A engine. An agreement with Rolls-Royce has also been signed to supply a new variant of its Trent engine series for the A350, the Trent 1700.
The new A350 features a new composite wing and a fuselage made of aluminium lithium, which combined give the aircraft 60 per cent advanced materials. With a new landing gear, over 90 per cent new manufacturing part numbers, and a new redesigned cabin for even more passenger comfort, the A350 will be a new aircraft. The A350 will have unrivalled economics and fuel efficiency. With 30 more seats, it will have 12 to 14 percent more capacity, and offers eight percent lower cost per seat with a 300 nm (555 km) greater range than its nearest competitor. Overall, the A350 is bigger, flies further and is cheaper to operate than its competitor, and will further strengthen Airbus' position on the world market.
To further reduce operating costs and minimize introduction costs, the A350 retains operational commonality with current Airbus long range products, allowing this new aircraft to benefit from the "Family effect", complementing the A340 and the A330 with which it shares the same pilot type rating.
An all new cabin has also been designed to further enhance passenger comfort during long-range flights. Thanks to an increased shoulder clearance, passengers will have more room to move, while benefiting from better stowage capacity. Meanwhile, a new air conditioning system has been designed to match individual airline layouts and day-to-day passenger load factors.
Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.
AIRBUS A350 FIRM ORDER COMMITMENTS
Air Europa 10
Kingfisher Airlines 5
Qatar Airways 60
US Airways 20
Total 140 commitments from 9 Customers