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10 March 2010
10. March 2010 Commercial Aircraft

United Signs Firm Order for 25 A350 XWB aircraft

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Summary

U.S.-based global carrier becomes the 33rd customer for Airbus’ newest jetliner, with deliveries beginning in 2016.

United has formalized a commitment originally announced in December 2009, signing a firm order for 25 A350-900 XWB aircraft, the newest twin-engine widebody from Airbus. The aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Deliveries of the aircraft will begin in 2016 and run through 2019.

"This is the latest chapter in a very strong relationship that has spanned two decades," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer - Customers. "From the delivery of the first United A320 in November 1993 to today, Airbus and United have worked together successfully to weather challenging market periods. It's a true testament to what the A350 XWB has to offer that one of the largest airlines in the world has selected it to be an instrumental part of their future."

"With this order we are investing in United's future, gaining a widebody aircraft that will help us reduce operating costs while still providing state-of-the-art comfort to our customers," said John Tague, President of United Airlines. "The A350 XWB will also help us reduce fuel burn and our overall environmental footprint in comparison to older technology aircraft."

Mark King, President - Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, added: "This represents a significant endorsement of our Trent XWB technology and its operational advantage. We are delighted that United Airlines has put its trust in the long-term performance advantages of Trent technology and TotalCare®."

The A350 XWB is a new family of mid-size widebody airliners. The highly efficient aircraft brings together the latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies to provide a 25-percent step-change in fuel efficiency compared to current aircraft in the same size category. The A350 XWB airframe will have 53 percent composite materials, lightening the weight thereby maximizing fuel economy. Featuring an entirely new, very quiet, cabin with extra space and comfort, passengers will enjoy more headroom, wide panoramic windows and more overhead storage area.

The three passenger versions have true long-range capability and flexibility. The A350-800 will fly 270 passengers in a three-class configuration 8300 nautical miles. The 314-seat A350-900 and 350-seat A350-1000 will offer similar long-range performance.

The order book for the aircraft type now stands at 530 aircraft. Final assembly of the first aircraft is anticipated in 2011, with the first delivery (of an A350-900) scheduled for 2013. 
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