Airbus A350 XWB

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A350 XWB
A350 First Flight - Low pass 02.jpg
A350-941 F-WXWB during its maiden flight on 14 June 2013
RoleWide-body jet airliner
National originMulti-national[1]
ManufacturerAirbus
First flight14 June 2013[2]
IntroductionExpected late 2014 with Qatar Airways (-900),[3] mid-2016 (-800) to mid-2017 (-1000)[4]
StatusIn early production, certified
Produced2010–present[5]
Number built6[6]
Unit cost
A350-800: US$260.9 million[7]
A350-900: US$295.2M[7]
A350-1000: US$340.7M[7]
 
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"A350" redirects here. For other uses, see A350 (disambiguation).
A350 XWB
A350 First Flight - Low pass 02.jpg
A350-941 F-WXWB during its maiden flight on 14 June 2013
RoleWide-body jet airliner
National originMulti-national[1]
ManufacturerAirbus
First flight14 June 2013[2]
IntroductionExpected late 2014 with Qatar Airways (-900),[3] mid-2016 (-800) to mid-2017 (-1000)[4]
StatusIn early production, certified
Produced2010–present[5]
Number built6[6]
Unit cost
A350-800: US$260.9 million[7]
A350-900: US$295.2M[7]
A350-1000: US$340.7M[7]

The Airbus A350 XWB is a family of long-range, twin-engine wide-body jet airliners developed by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer.[8] It can carry 250 to 350 passengers in a typical three-class seating layout, or maximum seating of 440 to 550 passengers, depending on variant. The A350 is positioned as a successor to the A330 and A340, competing with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and 777 series.

The A350 was originally conceived in 2004 with new aerodynamics and engines while having a fuselage based on the A330. This was rejected by some prospective customers. In 2006, Airbus redesigned the aircraft and renamed it the A350 XWB (extra wide body). The launch customer for the A350 is Qatar Airways, which ordered 80 aircraft of all three variants.[9] Development costs are projected to be €12 billion (US$15 billion or £10 billion).[10] The airliner is scheduled to enter airline service in 2014.[4] As of December 2013, Airbus had received orders for 812 aircraft from 39 customers around the globe.[9] The prototype A350 first flew on 14 June 2013 from Toulouse, France.[11] The A350 received type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency in September 2014 and certification from the FAA two months later.

Development[edit]

Early designs[edit]

Airbus initially rejected Boeing's claim that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner would be a serious threat to the Airbus A330, stating that the 787 was just a reaction to the A330, and that no response was needed. When airlines pushed Airbus to provide a competitor, Airbus initially proposed the A330-200Lite, a simple derivative of the A330, which would feature improved aerodynamics and engines similar to those on the 787.[12] The company planned to announce this version at the 2004 Farnborough Airshow, but did not proceed.[12]

On 16 September 2004, then-Airbus president and CEO Noël Forgeard confirmed the consideration of a new project during a private meeting with prospective customers.[12] Forgeard did not give a project name, and he did not state whether it would be an entirely new design or a modification of an existing product. The airlines were not satisfied, and Airbus committed €4 billion to a new airliner design.[12] The original version of the A350 superficially resembled the A330 due to its common fuselage cross-section and assembly. A new wing, engines and a horizontal stabiliser were to be coupled with new composite materials and production methods applied to the fuselage to make the A350 an almost all-new aircraft.[12] On 10 December 2004, the boards of EADS and BAE Systems, then the shareholders of Airbus, gave Airbus an "authorisation to offer (ATO)", and formally named it the A350.[12][13]

On 13 June 2005 at the Paris Air Show, Middle Eastern carrier Qatar Airways announced that they had placed an order for 60 A350s. In September 2006 the airline signed a memorandum of understanding with General Electric to launch the GEnx-1A-72 for the aircraft.[14][15][16] Emirates sought a more improved design and decided against ordering the initial version of the A350,[17][18] then placed an order for A350 XWBs in 2007.[19]

On 6 October 2005, full industrial launch of the programme was announced with an estimated development cost of around €3.5 billion.[12] This version of the A350 was planned to be a 250- to 300-seat twin-engine wide-body aircraft derived from the design of the existing A330. Under this plan, the A350 would have modified wings and new engines, while sharing the same fuselage cross-section as its predecessor. As a result of a controversial design, the fuselage was to consist primarily of Al-Li, rather than the carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) fuselage on the 787. It was to see entry in two versions: the A350-800 capable of flying 8,800 nmi (16,300 km) with typical passenger capacity of 253 in three-class configuration and the 300-seat (3-class) A350-900 with 7,500 nmi (13,900 km) range. It was designed to be a direct competitor to the 787-9, and 777-200ER.[12]

Airbus faced almost immediate criticism on the A350 project from the heads of two of their largest customers, International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). On 28 March 2006, in the presence of hundreds of top airline executives, ILFC President Steven F. Udvar-Hazy lambasted Airbus's strategy in bringing to market what they saw as "a Band-aid reaction to the 787", a sentiment that was echoed by GECAS president Henry Hubschman. Udvar-Hazy called on Airbus to bring a clean-sheet design to the table, or risk losing most of the market to Boeing.[20][21] Several days later Chew Choon Seng, then CEO of Singapore Airlines (SIA), made a similar comment: "Having gone through the trouble of designing a new wing, tail, cockpit" and adding advanced new materials, Airbus "should have gone the whole hog and designed a new fuselage."[22] At the time, SIA was reviewing bids for the 787 and A350. Airbus responded by stating they were considering improvements for the A350 to satisfy customer demands.[23] At the same time, Airbus's then-CEO Gustav Humbert suggested that there would be no quick fixes: "Our strategy isn't driven by the needs of the next one or two campaigns, but rather by a long-term view of the market and our ability to deliver on our promises."[24]

Redesign and launch[edit]

On 14 July 2006, during the Farnborough Airshow, the redesigned aircraft was designated A350 XWB (Xtra-Wide-Body).[25] There was some previous speculation that the revised aircraft would be called the Airbus A370 or A280, with Airbus going as far as accidentally publishing an advertisement referring to the model as the "A280" on the Financial Times '​s website. Within four days, Singapore Airlines agreed to order 20 A350XWBs with options for another 20 A350XWBs. CEO Chew Choon Seng said that "it is heartening that Airbus has listened to customer airlines and has come up with a totally new design for the A350."[26]

The proposed new A350 was a new design also including a wider fuselage cross-section. The new A350 fuselage allows seating arrangements ranging from an 8-abreast low-density premium economy layout to a 10-abreast high-density seating configuration, allowing for a maximum seating capacity of 440–550 depending on variant.[27][28] The A330 and previous iterations of the A350 would only be able to accommodate a maximum of eight seats per row. The 787 can accommodate 8 to 9 seats per row, while the 777 typically accommodates nine seats per row, with some airlines using a ten-abreast seating layout. The A350 cabin is 12.7 cm (5.0 in) wider at the eye level of a seated passenger than the competing 787,[29] and 28 cm (11 in) narrower than the competing Boeing 777. (See Wide-body aircraft for a comparison of cabin widths and seating.) All A350 passenger models will have a range of at least 8,000 nmi (15,000 km). The redesigned composite fuselage provides higher cabin pressure and humidity, and lower maintenance costs.

On 1 December 2006, the Airbus board of directors approved the industrial launch of the A350-800, -900 and -1000 variants.[30][31] The delayed decision on formal launch was a result of delays of the Airbus A380[32] and discussions about how the development would be funded. EADS CEO Thomas Enders stated that the A350 programme was not a certainty, citing EADS/Airbus's stretched resources.[33][34] However, it was decided programme costs are to be borne mainly from cash-flow. First delivery for the A350-900 was scheduled for mid-2013, with the −800 and −1000 following on 12 and 24 months later, respectively.[30] At a 4 December 2006 press conference, a few new technical details of the A350 XWB design were revealed, but no new customers were identified. John Leahy indicated existing A350 contracts were under re-negotiation due to increases in prices compared to the original A350s contracted. On 4 January 2007, Pegasus Aviation Finance Company placed the first firm order for the A350 XWB with an order for two aircraft.[35]

The change to the XWB design imposed a two-year delay into the original timetable and increased development costs from US$5.3 billion (€5.5B) to approximately US$10 billion (€9.7B).[36][37] The total development cost for the A350 was estimated at US$15 billion by Reuters (€12 billion or £10 billion).[38] The original mid-2013 delivery date of the A350 changed, as longer than anticipated development activities for the aircraft forced Airbus to delay the final assembly and first flight of the aircraft to the third quarter of 2012 and second quarter of 2013 respectively. As as result the flight test schedule was compressed from the original 15 months to 12 months. A350 programme chief Didier Evrard stressed that the delays only affect the A350-900 and that the -800 and -1000 schedules remain unchanged.[39]

Design phase[edit]

Artist impression of side view of jet aircraft in airline livery
Illustration of Airbus A350 XWB concept in Etihad Airways livery

Airbus suggested Boeing's use of composite materials for the 787 fuselage was premature, and that the new A350 XWB will feature large carbon fibre panels for the main fuselage skin. After facing criticism for maintenance costs,[40] Airbus confirmed in early September 2007 the adoption of composite fuselage frames for the aircraft structure.[41][42] The composite frames will feature aluminium strips to ensure the electrical continuity of the fuselage (for dissipating lightning strikes).[43] Airbus will use a full mock up fuselage to develop the wiring, a different approach from the A380, on which the wiring was all done on computers.[44]

Airbus confirmed that it will further develop a full bleed air system on new airliner's turbofan engines, rather than the partial bleed configuration used on the Boeing 787.[45][46][47] Rolls-Royce agreed with Airbus to supply a new variant of the Trent engine for the A350 XWB, named Trent XWB. After the low-speed wind tunnel test, Airbus froze the static thrust at sea level for all three proposed variants in the 330–420 kN (74,000–94,000 lbf) range in 2010.[48]

General Electric (GE) has stated it will not offer the GP7000 engine on the aircraft, and that previous contracts for the GEnx on the original A350 did not apply to the XWB.[49] Engine Alliance partner Pratt & Whitney seems to be at odds with GE on this, publicly stating that it is looking at an advanced derivative of the GP7000.[50] In April 2007, Airbus former chief executive Louis Gallois held face-to-face talks with senior GE management over developing a new variant of the GEnx engine for the A350 XWB.[51][52] In June 2007, Airbus's chief operating officer John Leahy indicated that the A350 XWB will not feature the GEnx engine, saying that Airbus wants GE to offer a more efficient version for the new Airbus airliner.[53] Since then, largest GE engines operators Emirates, US Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and ILFC have selected the Trent XWB for their A350 orders. In May 2009, GE said that if it reaches a deal with Airbus to offer the current 787-optimised GEnx for the A350, it will only power the −800 and −900 variants. GE believes it can offer a product that outperforms the Trent 1000 and Trent XWB, but has been reluctant to support an airframe that competes directly with its GE90-115B-powered 777 variants.[54]

In January 2008, French-based Thales Group won the US$2.9 billion (€2 billion) 20-year contract to supply avionics and navigation equipment for the A350 XWB. Thales competed against Honeywell and Rockwell Collins for the flight deck supply contract.[55] US-based Rockwell Collins and Moog Inc were chosen to supply the horizontal stabiliser actuator and primary flight control actuation, respectively. The flight management system will include several new safety features.[56]

Regarding cabin ergonomics and entertainment, in 2006 Airbus had signed a firm contract with BMW for development of an interior concept for the original A350.[57] On 4 February 2010, Airbus signed a contract with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to deliver in-flight entertainment and communication (IFEC) systems for the Airbus A350 XWB.[58]

Production, testing, and certification[edit]

The A350 XWB production programme sees extensive international collaboration and investments in new facilities. According to Flight Global, Airbus constructed 10 new factories in Western Europe and the US, with extensions carried out on 3 further sites.[59] Among the new buildings was a £570 million (US$760 million or €745 million) composite facility in Broughton, Wales, which would be responsible for the wings.[60] In June 2009, the National Assembly for Wales announced provision of a £28 million grant to provide a training centre, production jobs and money toward the new production centre.[61] Another new construction facility was the composite rudder plant in China, which was opened in early 2011.[62][63]

Airbus planned to introduce new techniques and procedures to cut assembly time in half.[64] Airbus manufactured the first structural component in December 2009.[65] Production of the first fuselage barrel began in late 2010 at its production plant in Illescas, Spain.[66][67] Construction of the first A350-900 centre wingbox was set to start in August 2010.[68]

The flight-test programme of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB began using the A380 development aircraft in early 2011, ahead of engine certification at the end of 2011. The first engine test on the Trent was made on 14 June 2010.[69] The forward fuselage of the first A350 aircraft was delivered to the factory on 29 December 2011.[70] Final assembly of the first A350 static test model was started on 5 April 2012.[71] Final assembly of the first flight-test A350 was completed in December 2012.[72] The fifth and final test aircraft is expected to fly in June 2014.[73]

External images
Flight test equipment

On 2 June 2013, Airbus powered up the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines on the A350 aircraft for the first time. Airbus also confirmed that flight test programme is to last 12 months and use five test aircraft.[74] The A350's maiden flight took place on 14 June 2013 from the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, near the company's aircraft delivery centre.[75] Airbus's chief test pilot said, "it just seemed really happy in the air" and that "all the things we were testing had no major issues at all."[76]

In June 2011, the A350-900 was scheduled to enter service in the first half of 2014, with the −800 to enter service in mid-2016, and the −1000 in 2017.[77] In July 2012, Airbus delayed the −900's entry date by three months into the second half of 2014.[78] Launch customer Qatar Airways is to receive its first aircraft in the second half of 2014,[74] with commercial flights to begin in January 2015.[79]

On 11 June 2014, Emirates cancelled an order for 70 A350s (50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s), which represented 9% of the A350 production backlog.[80][81][82] Emirates president Tim Clark said that the airline was frustrated with the development of the A350-1000, including changes to the A350-1000 engines which were previously shared with the A350-900.[83]

The A350 received type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 30 September 2014.[84][85] On 15 October 2014 EASA approved the A350-900 for ETOPS 370, allowing it to fly more than six hours on one engine and making it the first airliner to be approved for “ETOPS Beyond 180 minutes” before entry into service.[86][87][88] Later that month Airbus received regulatory approval for a Common Type Rating for pilot training between the A350 XWB and A330.[89] On 12 November 2014, the A350 received certification from the FAA.[90][91]

Design[edit]

The Airbus A350's distinctive nose

In September 2007, Airbus rolled out new design advances to a gathering of 100 representatives from existing and potential XWB customers. The A350 XWB will be built on the technologies developed for Airbus A380 and will have a similar cockpit and fly-by-wire systems layout.[92] The A350 XWB will be made out of 53% composites, 19% Al/Al-Li, 14% titanium, 6% steel, and 8% miscellaneous.[93] This compares to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which consists of 50% composites, 20% aluminium, 15% titanium, 10% steel and 5% other.[94] October 2008 was the Airbus internal goal to freeze the design and Airbus expects 10% lower airframe maintenance cost and 14% lower empty seat weight than competing aircraft.[95]

Airbus says that the new design provides a better cabin atmosphere with 20% humidity, a typical cabin altitude at or below 6,000 ft (1,800 m) and an airflow management system that adapts cabin airflow to passenger load with draught-free air circulation.[8] Airbus is aiming to certify the A350 with 350-minute ETOPS capability on entry into service,[96] and reach 420 min ETOPS capability later.[97]

Fuselage[edit]

The new XWB fuselage will have a constant width from door 1 to door 4, unlike previous Airbus aircraft, to provide maximum usable volume.[98] The double-lobe (ovoid) fuselage cross-section will have a maximum outer diameter of 5.97 m (19.6 ft), compared to 5.64 m (18.5 ft) for the A330/A340.[99] The cabin's internal diameter will be 5.61 m (18.4 ft) wide at armrest level compared with 5.49 m (18.0 ft) in the Boeing 787[100] and 5.87 m (19.3 ft) in the Boeing 777. It allows for an eight-abreast 2–4–2 arrangement in a premium economy layout, with the seats being 49.5 cm (19.5 in) wide between 5 cm (2.0 in) wide arm rests. Airbus says that the seat width will be 1.3 cm (0.5 in) greater than a 787 seat in the equivalent configuration. In the nine-abreast, 3–3–3 standard economy layout, the XWB's seat width will be 45 cm (18 in) which will be 1.27 cm (0.5 in) wider than the equivalent seat layout for the 787,[101] and 3.9 cm (1.5 in) wider than the equivalent A330 layout.[102] However, the current 777 and future derivatives, have 1.27 cm (0.5 in) greater seat width than the A350 in a nine-abreast configuration.[103][104] The upcoming 777X in a 10-abreast configuration is to have a greater seat width of up to 45.72 cm (18.0 in) equal to the nine abreast XWB[105] due to its wider interior cabin.[106][107] The 10-abreast seating on the A350 is similar to a 9-abreast configuration on the A330, with a seat width of 41.65 cm (16.4 in).[27][108] Overall, Airbus promises passengers more headroom, larger overhead storage space and wider panoramic windows than current Airbus models.

Wings[edit]

The Airbus A350's blended winglets

The A350 features new composite wings with a wingspan that is common to the three proposed variants.[109] With an area of 443 m2 (4,770 sq ft)[110] it will be the largest wing ever produced for a single-deck widebody aircraft.[98] The wingspan of 64.8 m (213 ft)[110] is 4.5 m (15 ft) greater than that of the A330. This is the same span as that of the longer range variants of the Boeing 777, which have slightly less area.[111] The wing tip will not have Airbus's traditional wingtip fences, but instead will curve upwards over the final 4.4 metres (14 ft) in a "sabre-like" shape.[98] The new wing will have a 31.9° sweep angle,[110] helping to increase typical cruise speed to Mach 0.85 and maximum operating speed to Mach 0.89. The A350-1000 have a wing design with about a 4% increase in surface area.

A new trailing-edge high-lift system has been adopted with an advanced dropped-hinge flap (similar to that of the A380), which permits the gap between the trailing edge and the flap to be closed with the spoiler.[112] The manufacturer has extensively used computational fluid dynamics and also carried out more than 4,000 hours of low- and high-speed windtunnel testing to refine the aerodynamic design,[113] achieving the final configuration of wing and winglet on the "Maturity Gate 5" on 17 December 2008.[114]

The wings are produced in the new £400M/46,000 square metres (500,000 sq ft) North Factory at Airbus Broughton, employing 650 workers, in a specialist facility constructed with £29M of support from the Welsh Assembly Government.[115]

Nose[edit]

A350 XWB new nose and general arrangement inside forward fuselage

The XWB's nose section will adopt a configuration derived from the A380 with a forward-mounted nosegear bay and a six-panel flightdeck windscreen.[116] This differs substantially from the four-window arrangement in the original design.[117] The new nose will improve aerodynamics and enable overhead crew rest areas to be installed further forward and eliminate any encroachment in the passenger cabin. The new windscreen has been revised to improve vision by reducing the width of the centre post. The upper shell radius of the nose section has been increased. The nose is likely to be constructed from aluminium but Airbus is currently running trade-off studies considering a one-piece carbon fibre structure. According to Gordon McConnell, A350 Chief Engineer, a carbon fibre structure would need titanium reinforcements for birdstrike protection, thus the aluminium structure is the best cost-wise.[118]

Cockpit and avionics[edit]

Cockpit of the Airbus A350

The revised design of the cockpit dropped the A380-sized display and adopted 38 cm (15 in) LCD screens. The new six-screen configuration will have two central displays mounted one above the other (the lower one above the thrust levers) and a single (for each pilot) primary flight/navigation display, with an adjacent on-board information system screen.[119] Airbus says the new cockpit will allow advances in navigation technology to be placed on the displays in the future plus flexibility and capacity to upload new software and to combine data from multiple sources and sensors for flight management and aircraft systems control.[120] The A350 XWB will also feature a head-up display.

The avionics will be a further development of the integrated modular avionics (IMA) concept found on the A380. The A350's IMA will manage up to 40 functions (versus 23 functions for the A380) such as undercarriage, fuel, pneumatics, cabin environmental systems, and fire detection.[117][121] Airbus says benefits will include reduced maintenance and lower weight because IMA replaces multiple processors and LRUs with around 50% fewer standard computer modules known as line-replaceable modules. The IMA runs on a 100-Mbit/s network based on the avionics full-duplex (AFDX) standard, already employed in the A380 instead of the architecture used on the A330/A340.

Powerplant[edit]

The Trent XWB family has two basic engines to power the three A350 variants. The baseline 370 kN (83,000 lbf) thrust version for the A350-900 will be derated to 330 kN (74,000 lbf) and 350 kN (79,000 lbf) for the −800, while an upgraded 432 kN (97,000 lbf) thrust version will power the A350-1000. The higher-thrust version will have some modifications to the fan module—it will be the same diameter but will run slightly faster and have a new fan blade design—and run at increased temperatures allowed by new materials technologies from Rolls-Royce's research.[122] The basic 248 t MTOW −800 will be offered with a 330 kN (74,000 lbf) sea-level-thrust rating, while the 279 t MTOW option will have 350 kN (79,000 lbf) thrust. Airbus also plans to offer a 'hot and high' rating option for Middle Eastern launching customers Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad. This option has an increased thrust of 350 kN (79,000 lbf) at higher altitudes and temperatures.

The Trent XWB will feature a 300-centimetre (118 in) fan diameter and the design will be based on the advanced developments of the Trent 900 (Airbus A380) and Trent 1000 (Boeing 787). The Trent XWB may also benefit from the next-generation reduced acoustic mode scattering engine duct system (RAMSES), which is a noise-dampening engine nacelle intake and a carry-on design of the Airbus's "zero splice" intake liner developed for the A380.[123] Engine thrust-reversers and nacelles will be supplied by US-based UTC Aerospace Systems.

The A350 XWB will feature a 1,268 kW (1,700 shp) Honeywell HGT1700 auxiliary power unit,[117] which has 10% greater power density than the previous generation of Honeywell's 331 APU family. Honeywell will also supply the air management system: the bleed air, environmental control, cabin pressure control and supplemental cooling systems.[124] The ram-air turbine will be supplied by Hamilton Sundstrand and will be located in the lower surface of the fuselage.[125] The generator requirement for the ram air turbine is 100 kVA compared to 150 kVA for the A380.

In light of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner battery problems, in February 2013 Airbus decided to revert from Lithium-ion to the proven Nickel-cadmium technology although the flight test programme will continue with the Lithium-Ion battery systems.[126]

Fuel and hydraulic systems[edit]

Parker Hannifin will supply the complete fuel package: inerting system, fuel measurement and management systems, mechanical equipment and fuel pumps. The fuel tank inerting system will feature air-separation modules to generate nitrogen-enriched air that will be used to reduce the flammability of fuel vapour in the tanks.

Parker will also provide hydraulic power generation and distribution system: reservoirs, manifolds, accumulators, thermal control, isolation, software and new engine- and electric motor-driven pump designs. Parker estimates the contracts will generate more than US$2 billion (€1.5 billion or £1 billion) in revenues over the life of the programme.[127]

Mock-up of the A350 nose gear at ILA 2012

Undercarriage[edit]

Airbus adopted a new philosophy for the attachment of the A350s main undercarriage as part of the switch to a composite wing structure. Each main undercarriage leg is attached to the rear wing spar forward and to a gear beam aft, which itself is attached to the wing and the fuselage. To help reduce the loads further into the wing, a double side-stay configuration has been adopted. This solution resembles the design of the Vickers VC10.[128]

Airbus devised a three-pronged main undercarriage design philosophy encompassing both four- and six-wheel bogies to ensure it can keep the pavement loading within limits. The A350-800 and A350-900 will both have four-wheel bogies, although the −800's will be slightly shorter to save weight. Both will fit in the same 4.1 m (13 ft) long bay. The proposed higher weight variant, the A350-1000 (and the A350-900R, which is being proposed to British Airways, with −900 size but with sufficient fuel capacity to allow nonstop London-Sydney flights) will use a six-wheel bogey, with a 4.7 m (15 ft) undercarriage bay.[129] French-based Messier-Dowty will provide the main undercarriage for the −800 and −900 variant, and UTC Aerospace Systems will supply the −1000 variant. The nose gear will be supplied by Liebherr-Aerospace.[130]

Variants[edit]

A length comparison of all three A350 variants

There are three variants of the A350, and all were launched in 2006.[131][132] In July 2012, the A350-900 was scheduled to enter service in the second half of 2014;[78] then the −800 in mid-2016, and −1000 in 2017.[77][133] All variants are also to be offered as corporate jets by wholly owned subsidiary Airbus Executive and Private Aviation.

A350-800[edit]

The A350-800 is to seat 270 passengers in a three-class configuration with a 9-abreast seating, and have a range of 15,400 km (8,300 nmi).[110] It is designed to compete with the Boeing 787-9 and to directly replace the Airbus A330-200. In January 2010 Airbus announced that the −800 would be developed as a simple shrink of the −900, incorporating minor changes to the systems and structure and share more hardware with the −900 rather than as an optimised variant as was previously planned. This increased commonality will allow a higher maximum takeoff weight, which will increase the range (or payload) of the A350-800 compared to initial plans. The change will increase fuel burn by "a few per cent", according to the programme's marketing head, Sophie Pendaries.[134]

The −800's fuselage is 10 frames shorter (six forward and four aft) than the −900 aircraft. The baseline −800 will be offered with an MTOW of 248 t (547,000 lb), MLW of 190 t (420,000 lb), MZFW of 178 t (392,000 lb), and 330 kN (74,000 lbf) thrust engines. An optional 11-tonne (24,000 lb) increase in MTOW, to 259 t (571,000 lb) with a corresponding increase of MZFW to 181 t (399,000 lb), MLW to 193 t (425,000 lb), and a higher thrust 370 kN (83,000 lbf) engine (common with −900 engine thrust) is available to customers as an option. While the increased weights compensate for the increased empty weight of the aircraft and associated minor fuel burn penalty due to maintaining commonality with −900, it also resulted in an increase in the aircraft maximum structural payload capability by 3 t (6,600 lb), or 459 km (248 nmi) of additional range.[135][136] As development continues, Airbus plans to decrease structural weight in the −800, which should be around airframe 20.[137]

In a bid to save on development and production costs, Airbus has recently encouraged those customers who have ordered the −800 variant to upgrade to the more popular −900. While many customers have changed their orders, a number are yet to be convinced of the benefits.[138] Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier said that some customers may switch their orders to the recently announced Airbus A330neo.[139][140][141][142]

A350-900[edit]

Airbus A350-900 cabin in economy-class configuration

The A350-900 is the first A350 model and seats 314 passengers in a three-class cabin and 9-abreast layout. It has a standard design range target of 15,000 km (8,100 nmi). Airbus says that the A350-900 will have a decrease of 16% MWE per seat, a 30% decrease in block fuel per seat and 25% better cash operating cost than the Boeing 777-200ER.[143] The −900 is designed to compete with the Boeing 777-200ER and replace the Airbus A340-300.[144]

The −900R variant has been proposed but not yet launched. It would feature the higher engine thrust, strengthened structure and undercarriage of the −1000.[145] Range of the A350-900R was estimated to 17,600 km (9,500 nmi), which would be boosted to about 19,100 km (10,315 nmi) by these design improvements to compete with the Boeing 777-200LR and be capable of non-stop flight from London-Heathrow to Auckland. The −900F freighter variant has also been proposed.[146] Aviation Week reported in July 2013 that Airbus has been discussing with airlines a possible −900 Regional version. This version would be for airlines that fly short to medium routes that do not need the extra range, maximum fuel capacity and weight of the baseline A350-900.[147] Etihad Airways and Aer Lingus have firmly expressed their interest in the regional variant.[148]

A350-900R[edit]

As a competitor to the Boeing 787-10, Airbus started to offer a shorter range, regional, variant of the A350-900. The A350-900R. The aircraft is virtually identitcal to the -900, but has a few software changes, a reduced MTOW of 250 tons from 268 tons, along with engines derated to 75,000 lbs of thrust. The aircraft is 13% cheaper at $256.8 Million, however airlines can choose to upgrade the aircraft to a standard -900 for around $40 million. Singapore Airlines has ordered 30. [149]

A350-1000[edit]

The A350-1000 has an 11-frame stretch over the −900[131] and will enter service after the −800. It is the largest variant of the A350 family and is to seat 350 passengers in a three-class cabin and 9-abreast configuration.[150] It will have a range of 15,600 km (8,400 nmi). It is designed to replace the Airbus A340-600 and compete with the Boeing 777-300ER.

The A350-1000 will feature a slightly larger wing than the −800/900 models; a trailing-edge extension increasing its area by 4%. This will extend the high-lift devices and the ailerons, making the chord bigger by around 400 mm, optimising flap lift performance as well as cruise performance.[131] These and other engineering upgrades are necessary so that the −1000 model does not suffer a reduction in range.[151] Cathay Pacific will be the launch customer of the -1000 variant.

Orders and deliveries[edit]

Airbus A350 orders and deliveries by type
Total ordersTotal deliveries
A350-80034[152]
A350-900547[153]
A350-1000169[154]
Total750
Airbus A350 orders and deliveries by year
200620072008200920102011201220132014Total
Orders2292[155]163[156]5178-3127230-62750
Deliveries

Airbus A350 orders and deliveries (cumulative, by year):

As of 31 August 2014[157]


Specifications[edit]

Specifications are preliminary until design is finished.

ModelA350-800[134]A350-900A350-1000
Cockpit crewTwo
Seating, typical270 (3-class)
276 (2-class)
440 (maximum)
314 (3-class)
315 (2-class)
440 (maximum)
350 (3-class)
369 (2-class)
475 (maximum)
Overall length60.54 m (198.6 ft)66.89 m (219.5 ft)73.88 m (242.4 ft)
Wingspan64.8 m (213 ft)
Wing area443 m2 (4,770 sq ft)~460 m2 (5,000 sq ft)
Wing sweepback31.9°
Overall height17.05 m (55.9 ft)
Fuselage width5.96 m (19.6 ft)
Seat width18.0 in (45.7 cm) in standard 9 abreast economy or 16.4 in (41.7 cm) in 10 abreast high density economy
Fuselage height6.09 m (20.0 ft)
Cabin width5.61 m (18.4 ft)[158]
Maximum takeoff weight259 t (571,000 lb)268 t (591,000 lb)308 t (679,000 lb)
Maximum landing weight[136]193 t (425,000 lb)205 t (452,000 lb)233 t (514,000 lb)
Maximum zero fuel weight[136]181 t (399,000 lb)192 t (423,000 lb)220 t (485,000 lb)
Manufacturer's empty weight115.7 t (255,100 lb)[159]
Maximum cargo capacity28 LD3 or 9 pallets36 LD3 or 11 pallets44 LD3 or 14 pallets
Cruise speedMach 0.85 (903 km/h, 561 mph, 487 knots, at 40,000 ft or 12.19 km)
Maximum cruise speedMach 0.89 (945 km/h, 587 mph, 510 knots, at 40,000 ft or 12.19 km)
Maximum range
(with passengers and baggage)[136]
15,300 km (8,260 nmi)14,350 km (7,750 nmi)14,800 km (7,990 nmi)
Maximum fuel capacity129,000 l (34,100 US gal)138,000 l (36,500 US gal)156,000 l (41,200 US gal)
Service ceiling43,100 ft (13,100 m)
Engines (2×)RR Trent XWB
Maximum thrust capability351 kN (79,000 lbf)374 kN (84,000 lbf)431 kN (97,000 lbf)

Sources: Airbus,[110][150][158][160] Flight Global[161]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

External images
Airbus A350 XWB Cutaway
Airbus A350 XWB Cutaway from Flightglobal.com