Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: A350XWB Prestige
and United Kingdom
Airbus*, Spirit AeroSystems (centre fuselage frame) and Thales (avionics) (*) lead contractor
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Description: The Airbus A350 due to enter service in first half of 2010 will complement the Airbus A330/A340 family of wide-body commercial aircraft. The new airliner is close to the twin-engine A330 commercial aircraft and will be available in two different versions: A350-800 and A350-900. The seating-capacity of A350 will be the same of A330 but offering extended range suitable for international routes. Furthermore, Airbus will complete its product line range with an aircraft that matches Boeing 7E7 capabilities.
BAE Systems and EADS gave the go ahead for Airbus to offer the A350 airplane to airlines around the world on December 10, 2004. Despite at that time it was still in the early concept phase, it received positive response from many Airbus customers. The new aircraft will offer maximum of operational commonality with existing A330/A340 aircraft. According to EADS and BAE Systems joint statement, future demand for the A350 type could be 3,100 aircraft over the next 20 years. Airbus claims that A350 can get at least 50 per cent.
The Airbus A350 will incorporate some of the cutting-edge technologies, materials and manufacturing processes; such as Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) and aluminum-lithium alloys; which are being developed for the A380 SuperJumbo allowing higher efficiency in the production and operation. The aircraft will use a new nacelle and a pylon design initially developed for the A380. Seating-capacity will vary from 245 to 285 passengers. Through this launch Airbus expects to speed up sales of commercial aircraft and overall company profit due to the increased revenues coming from additional sales.
On 17 July 2006, Christian Streiff Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) launched a new family of aircraft based on the A350 design. The new family known as A350 XWB, Extra Wide Body, was bearing that name for Extra Comfort, Extra Efficiency and going the Extra mile for customers. In addition to A350-800 and -900 models, Airbus committed three new models: two airliners and a dedicated freighter. The seating capacity for both -800 and -900 models boosted to 270 and 314 passengers respectively. The A350-900 entry into service date was delayed from 2010 to 2012. The A350-1000 extra wide body airliner will have a seating capacity of 350. With a range of 8,500 nautical miles and a cruise speed of Mach 0.85 these three models will form the basis of A350 XWB aircraft family.
Beyond 2012, Airbus expects to deliver the A350-900R ultra long-range aircraft based on the -900 model. The A350 XWB product line will be complete by the A350-900F freighter variant. XWB airplanes will offer wider cross section, allowing for wider seats, wider aisles and more head and shoulder clearance. Twenty percent cabin humidity and wider panoramic windows will further enhance the passenger experience. Airbus estimates that next-generation engines will make the A350 up to 30 percent fuel efficient over current existing aircraft and approx. 6 percent over the 787 Dreamliner. Furthermore, these models will feature lower noise and lower emissions compliant with the most stringent environmental requirements.
The A350-800 will seat typically 245 passengers in a long range three class layout and have a range in excess of 8,600 nautical miles (15,900 kilometers). Six cargo pallets can be carried using the same configuration. Airbus also projects that A350-800 will have the lowest seat mile costs for the medium size seating category. The new aircraft will be powered by two new generation General Electric engines (GEnx 72A1) that will provide greater fuel consumption efficiency than current commercial engines. Pilots already qualified for the A330 will be able to switch to the A350 without additional training.
Air Europa of Spain became the first airline to announce its commitment to the Airbus A350 program on December 21, 2004. Air Europa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 10 A350-800 aircraft and 2 more as options to be delivered between 2010 and 2012. These aircraft will use a 300 to 330 seats layout instead of the original 245-seat configuration and will be powered by GEnx engines. On 25 January 2006, Air Europa confirmed its early order for the 10 A350-800 airplanes.
On 6 October 2005 Airbus formally launched the A350 program following approval from the company's prime shareholders, EADS and BAE Systems. The A350 airplane received so far 140 firm order commitments from customers around the world. Airbus released that the new aircraft was going to be manufactured at the same facilities as the A340 and A330 airplanes but with aircraft components coming from partners in China, Russia and other countries. According to Airbus, the A350 segment would represent 3,300 airplanes sold in a 20 years period with the A350 airplane sharing 50 percent of the market. In parallel, Airbus announced that the A350 aircraft family would be powered by the newest Rolls Royce Trent 1700 (Trent 1711 model) engine in addition to the General Electric GEnx 1A.
On 1 December 2006, Airbus was given the go-ahead for the A350 XWB aircraft family by the EADS board of directors. The first A350 aircraft powered by Trent XWB engines was scheduled for revenue service by 2013.
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