Finnair today signed a firm contract for eleven A350XWBs as well as seven additional long-range aircraft (a mix of A340-300s and A330s). It is the first airline to convert its order for nine of the initial A350, placed in December 2005, into the new A350XWB, and to simultaneously increase the number of aircraft ordered.
"We are particularly honoured by this mark of confidence from Finnair, one of Europe's major airlines. It is an endorsement of the new A350XWB programme. Throughout 2006, Finnair regularly expressed its faith in the product as well as in the Airbus team, and we are extremely pleased to come to this agreement today,? Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, John Leahy said.? I am confident the A350XWB will deliver on its promises and that it will meet Finnair's requirements in terms of passenger and cargo traffic growth towards Asia and the Far East."
M. Jukka Hienonen, CEO of Finnair underlined: "Having taken into account all competitive and economic factors, we decided to confirm our initial choice for our future growth in long-haul traffic. Commonality with our Airbus A320 single aisle fleet was one of the key drivers in our decision making. Seamless transition from the current long-haul fleet to the new generation A350XWB is safeguarded by the entry into our fleet of the A340s and A330s."
The A350 XWB will be available in three basic passenger versions, the A350-800 which can fly 270 passengers in a spacious three-class configuration up to 8,500nm / 15,750 km, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 which is designed for 350 passengers, both with ranges of up to 8,300nm / 15,400 km. The three passenger versions have a cruise speed of Mach 0.85. With a cross section of 232 inches / 5.9 meters, the A350 XWB will benefit from the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort in this market segment. It will also offer the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in that category. The Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental concerns in that market segment.
The A350 XWB will initially be powered by new generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines delivering between 75,000 and 95,000 lbs of thrust.
The new A350 XWB will feature the latest innovations in terms of advanced technologies. Amongst those is the use of all-new, easy to maintain and much lighter Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) paneled fuselage skins. This innovation in manufacturing permits easier maintainability and reparability of individual airframe parts, while also allowing the structure of the panels to be much better optimized in terms of design to the stress and load requirements of each individual airframe part. Over 60 per cent of the airframe will be made of new materials.
Airbus is an EADS company.