“There is excellent flexibility with the A350 XWB, especially with airlines that benefit from using both A350-900s and A350-1000s in managing the capacity demand, while also adapting to seasonal changes in traffic on certain routes, as well as increasing capacity when needed,” said Alexander Selyanko, A350 Product Marketing Manager at Airbus. “High commonality between the two aircraft – with 95% commonality by spare parts provision – is another advantage for airlines, including the ability for pilots to fly both with a single type rating.”
Selyanko outlined how the A350 XWB – in particular the A350-900 – is being used to spearhead the replacement of older competing widebody aircraft such as the 777-300ER, matching the passenger and range capabilities while driving down the operating cost by at least 25%. Additionally, the A350-900 is replacing 787s, particularly on mature routes to Asia and Africa, providing growth passenger and cargo potential.
One Middle East airline replaced 787s with the A350 XWB on flights to Asia – initially using the A350-900, and subsequently with the A350-1000. It is now deploying both A350 XWB versions for extra flexibility to manage capacity, improving route load factor and yield at the same time
Alexander Selyanko, A350 Product Marketing Manager, Airbus
Airlines are using the A350 XWB on their more ‘sophisticated’ routes to meet the expectations of premium passengers, with the aircraft markedly boosting these airlines’ Net Promoter Scores (NPS) – the metric used in customer experience programmes
Maria Luisa Lucas-Ugena, Head of A350 XWB Product Marketing, Airbus
Airbus’ other twin-engine widebody aircraft – the A330 – is an aircraft of choice in Africa and maintains a strong presence in the Middle East. More than 30 of its latest version, the A330neo (New Engine Option), have been delivered to 10 customers, with the aircraft flying from every continent and crossing the oceans on short-, medium- and long-haul services.
The region’s list of A330neo customers and operators include Air Mauritius, Air Senegal, Iran Air, Kuwait Airways, Middle East Airlines and Uganda Airlines; with customers and operators for the A330ceo version including Etihad Airways, Afriqiyah Airways, Air Algerie, EGYPTAIR, Gulf Air, Iran Air, Middle East Airlines, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, RwandAir, South African Airways and TunisAir.
“The A330neo is one aircraft in two sizes: the A330-800, and the longer fuselage A330-900 version,” said Crawford Hamilton, the Head of A330 Marketing at Airbus. “They are right-sized – with the right economics for still-emerging markets such as Africa, providing an ideal entry-level widebody; while bringing the right capacity, range and economics for more-established markets such as the Middle East. Everyone is looking for efficiency, and the A330neo has 25% lower fuel burn than the previous-generation competitors.”
The A330 is very reliable in service and highly maintainable – with four-times more MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul) service providers able to work on the A330 than its latest competitor
Crawford Hamilton, Head of A330 Marketing, Airbus
The Middle East remains the centre of operations for Airbus’ four-engine double-deck A380, with a combined total of 180 ordered by three airlines in the region: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. They are used to connect the Middle East with long-haul destinations around the world (such as Emirates’ 7,670 nautical mile route between Dubai and Auckland, New Zealand), as well as shorter-distance routes (including the Emirates trip between Dubai and Muscat, a distance of approximately 188 nautical miles).
Andrew Armistead, the Head of Airline Marketing at Airbus for Africa and the Middle East, said there will be A380 operations for many years to come, with the aircraft providing the Middle East and other markets the capacity to major hubs of the world and to other such destinations as Boston in the U.S.; Birmingham and Manchester in the UK; Toronto, Canada; and Guangzhou in China.