Airbus confirms A350-1000 news, pushes back model and -800

Airbus and Rolls-Royce confirmed June 18 news we reported 10 days ago: that the A350-1000 will get a more powerful engine and more range. Airbus officials also confirmed that the changes will push the entry-into-service of the -1000 from 2015 to 2017, somewhat later than we reported; and that the smaller A350-800 EIS is also being pushed back from 2014 to 2016.

EIS for the baseline A350-900 remains the same, late 2013.

The -1000’s delay is driven largely by the engine upgrade from 93,000 lbs thrust to 97,000 lbs. The airframe will benefit from minor technological advances emerging from the -900 test flights and early EIS. Range is increased 450nm and gross weight is upped by 4.5 tons. Flaps and wing tips also receive minor changes to enlarge them, but the basic wing area remains the same.

No changes to the -800 beyond lessons learned from the -900 testing and EIS are contemplated.

Pushing back the -800 and -1000 also relieves pressure on resources, principally engineers, to concentrate on the -900 to assure EIS as promised.

Mark King, president of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, said that the engine’s fan will have the same diameter and the increased thrust won’t result in an increased fuel burn. Rather, additional technologies will result in lower fuel burn than previously contemplated.

The new engine will be scaled up from the existing engine.

Rolls-Royce now has an exclusive supplier contract for the -1000, something it did not have before, Martin said.

Five customers with 42 orders have switched to the -900. They are lessors Alafco (12) and ILFC (6) and TAM (12), Asiana (2) and Group Synergy (10). John Leahy, COO Customers, said these customers concluded they want the larger version. Ninety-eight orders remain. Leahy and Fabrice Bregier, Airbus COO, said there are no plans to drop the -800 model, which competes with the Boeing 787-9, nor to add a stretch of the -1000 to plug a capacity gap between the 350-seat -1000 and the 550-seat A380.

Leahy said all customers affected by the EIS shifts for the -800 and -1000 have agreed consensually to the moves. He did not respond to a question whether financial compensations were paid.

Leahy also said the rescheduling of the -800 and -1000 better allows Airbus to “sequence resources” for the A320neo and the -900.

“It’s not a surprise we are quite stretched on resources,” Bregier said. He also said Airbus remains cautious about the production ramp-up for the -900, with the goal of producing more than 10 a month not being forecast until four years after EIS.

The moves are important to Boeing on several levels.

First, Boeing had been predicting the -1000 would be delayed five years, to 2019, and this would have given the company lots of breathing room to design a response for the 777-300ER, which is the target of the -1000.

Second, the -1000 becomes more competitive to the -300ER, at least on paper, and therefore more of a threat. This threat, if Boeing concludes it is real, may influence what Boeing does for the New Small Airplane (NSA) or a re-engined 737.

Third, moving the -800 to a 2016 EIS relieves some of the pressure on Boeing to come out with the 787-10, which while slightly larger than the -800, nonetheless means another development program for Boeing at a time when the NSA or a -300ER solution may be more pressing.

Fourth, the cautious production ramp up for the -900 means Boeing can churn out 777s as fast as the supply chain will allow taking advantages of the new timelines.

10 Comments on “Airbus confirms A350-1000 news, pushes back model and -800

  1. I could see the delayed A-350-1000 being pushed back to 2017, but does pushing the -800 to 2016 indicate an engineering problem with either the A-359 or the A-32X-NEO?

    • Why would you want engineering/production efforts and resources to spend time on an aircraft to have it fly in mid-2014 while it is not needed until mid-2016 by the Customers?

      Also, as a reminder, the A320NEO schedule has been moved forward by one year, from 2016 to 2015 if my memory serves right. Is that a sign of an “engineering” problem?

  2. anyone have any thoughts about why it seems impossible for aerospace companies on either side of any pond to deliver when they promised?
    not looking for a bashing sessions, but rather some insight.

    • To rephrase another frequent poster:
      Powerpoint Ranger Migration ( down the hierarchical ladder ).

      Or in other words: a pronounced lack of horizontally _and_ vertically
      well educated personel in middle levels.
      Sped up education processes advantage a fast but keyhole and
      vertical only education.

    • I think in the rush to be competitive and sell more airplanes than the other guy, both OEMs have bitten off more advanced technology than they can absorb in the time frame the marketing people promise.

      In other words, both Airbus’s and Boeing’s marketing/sales departments are writting checks the engineers cannot cash.

      Both companies need to go back to being run by engineers and not salesmen or business management trainees. Both companies allow the salesmen to define promised performance and delivery dates.

    • Uwe: Do you mean: “Everything used to be better”?
      Nothing to do with more complex work environment, highly extended global supply chains – advanced materials and processes?
      If I may… what is your age?

      KC: Would you go so far as to suppose the marketing departments are writing checks they know cannot be achieved? Just to get those additional sales (and deny their competitor the revenue) knowing full well that the probable penalties will negate any possible profit.
      That is, the OEM’s are knowingly and willingly selling vapor?

      • No not the old geezer phrase 😉

        But the Bologna Process in Europe hasn’t been kind to student qualification. Recent postgrads have less ability to research what
        they should need to learn for getting a certain job done ( in their
        case their thesis ). i.e. they have difficulty getting a handle on to
        the unknown unknowns transforming them into known unknowns
        _and_ they tend to lack scepticism omitting to check given facts
        for plausibility. All a gradual process.

        age? I am a couple years beyond 50.

  3. Well, as far as the A350 is concerned the key metric is the dash 900. When Airbus switched to a CFRP fuselage, EIS was set for “mid” 2013 with first flight planned to occur 18 months earlier (Q4 2011). Now, final assembly in Toulouse is set to start late this year. On the A380, it took about 11 months from MSN-001 entered final assembly to its first light. Assuming a similar time frame for the A350 prototype, first flight should occur around October 2012. Assuming cold soak tests will be completed (by number 2 or 3 frame off the assembly line) by spring equinox 2013, then Airbus might be able to deliver the first frame by the end of 2013. On the A340-300, it took 14 months from first flight (October 1991) until JAA certification was awarded, while Boeing managed to receive simultaneous airworthiness certification by the FAA and the JAA 10 months after first flight of the 777 prototype occurred.

    So, as it currently stands, start of final assembly has slipped by about 12 months. However, due to an initially planned very conservative 18 month long flight test period, the entire program should not, at this period in time, be considered to be much delayed. The A350 development program was to take 6.5 years when it was launched; now it’s a 7 year program, which btw seems to be a reasonable time frame for a totally new project in this day and age.

    If Boeing had scheduled 7 years for the 787 from start to finish, and if Airbus had used CATIA V5 exclusively on the A380, I’m not sure if we would have seen much delays in first flight and EIS at all. NB; To be fair to the OEMs, I believe 6 months of “extra time” is within the margin of error.

    Now, where the two OEMs have been far too optimistic is in the projected production ramp-up. IMO, reaching the level of 10 deliveries per month will take the better part of 5 years from EIS for both the 787 and the A350 programmes.

    • Addendum: In the second-to-last paragraph, add production ramp-up for the A380 as primary “victim” of the failure to use CATIA V5 exclusively.

  4. Pingback: A350 delay boosts 777 market appeal | Aspire Aviation

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