Airbus has received approval from its shareholders, EADS and BAE Systems to begin making firm commercial offers to launch customers for two new members of its wide-body Family. The new sisterships to the A330s, called “A350” models, respond to the market demand foreseen by Airbus customers, many of whom have expressed their interest in these new models and contributed to their definition.Due to enter service in the first half of 2010, the A350 models will complement the existing Airbus A330 and A340 product line. Offering a maximum of operational commonality with the current A330/A340 line - including Common Type Rating with the A330 -, they complement the current A330-200 and -300 line, offering extended range in these seating categories.
“The long range market is becoming more segmented in terms of size and range. Airbus has listened to its customers, who were interested in the medium size category with greater range to complement their current Airbus wide-body Families. As a result of this demand, we are now pleased to offer the A350, which, in addition to its intrinsic characteristics, is in the unique position of being a full member of a comprehensive airliner family, hence benefiting from an unmatched level of commonality”, said Airbus President and CEO No‘l Forgeard on the occasion of the announcement. “We are now in the unique position to satisfy all airlines’ demands in the long range sector, from the 250 seater to the high capacity A380.”
The market for aircraft in the 250-300 seat category is estimated at some 3,100 new aircraft over the next 20 years, of which Airbus expects to get at least 50 per cent.
The A350 will be offered in two versions. The A350-800 will typically seat 245 passengers in a long range three class configuration and have a range in excess of 8,600 nm / 15,900 km) providing ultra long range capability in this “medium size” seating category, and offering the lowest seat mile costs for this less dense long range market. Seating 285 passengers in a similar configuration, the A350-900 will have a range of more than 7,500 nm / 13,900 km, allowing operators to benefit from exceptionally low unit costs in the most competitive mainstream markets.
The A350 models will benefit from technologies, materials and manufacturing processes used on the A380, and will draw from composite wing design and Airbus manufacturing know-how. Although eligible for a choice of engines, the initial A350s will be powered by two new generation General Electric engines which, thanks to new technologies, will generate a double-digit improvement in fuel efficiency.
A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.