Airbus will likely shift the sequence of the entry-into-service of the A350, a customer tells us. Other sources report the same, with another customer calling the prospect of a shift “inevitable.”
A tantalizing clue may have come from Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier. In Airbus’ own video of Bregier talking about his first ride on the A350, he remarks at 3:10 into the video that the next effort is for “the development of the next member of the family, the -1000.” The subtitles alter this to the next “challenge,” but Bregier’s words can clearly be heard. The Youtube post is below, which is the same as the video on the Airbus website.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6yX-1ESX88&w=420&h=315]
Right now, only one A350-800 is scheduled for delivery in September 2016 (to lessor ILFC), according to one data base, with several more following in 2017–when the more popular A350-1000 is scheduled to enter service.
But Airbus’ media relations department says no re-sequence has been made.
“No change in sequence A350-900 EIS H2 2014, A350-800 EIS mid-2016 and A350-1000 mid-2017,” says a spokesperson.
“The video you refer to was intended first and foremost for internal audiences, and Fabrice was referring to the development effort for the -1000 being the next priority as the -800 is a shrink so less effort than the -1000.”
The -800 is a straight-forward derivative of the -900, with several frames removed from the fuselage. The -1000 has some changes to the wing and a slightly different engine fan diameter than the baseline -900.