Airbus lowers range of A350 on increased capacity assumptions

Airbus this week quietly lowered range for the A350 family on increased capacity assumptions.

The range changes appeared without fanfare on the company’s website. When we inquired, a spokesman said,Seat figures in our public documents have been changed from typical three-class to two-class layouts, as it’s turned out to be a more realistic scenario for most of our customers.  Consequently, as passenger capacity has gone up, the new pax numbers and their calculated weight give lower range figures.”

However, as of Thursday’s close of business, the website still refered to three-class configurations:

A350-800 landing page:

The A350-800 is the shortest fuselage version in Airbus’ new A350 XWB all-new family of mid-sized widebody airliners.  It accommodates 276 passengers in a typical three-class cabin configuration, with a flight range of 8,250 nautical miles.

A350-900 landing page:

This jetliner typically accommodates 315 passengers in a three-class configuration, while offering unbeatable economics in high-density seating and true long-haul capability with a range of up to 7,750 nautical miles.

The A350-900 Specification page still contained this statement:

The A350-900 offering a typical passenger capacity of 314 seats (in a three-class layout) and operating range 8,100 nautical miles.  

A350-1000 landing page:

In a typical three-class configuration, the A350-1000 seats a total of 369 passengers.  Combined with a range of 8,000 nautical miles, this represents a significant revenue-generating advantage for operators. The aircraft also can be configured for a higher-density layout to accommodate up to 400 passengers.

The ranges were previously 8,400nm, 8,100nm and 8,400nm respectively. The previous three-class seating configurations listed were 250, 301 and 350 respectively.

By Friday morning (PST), these landing pages had been fixed, and these now refer to two-class configurations with the capacities as listed above: 276, 315 and 369.

42 Comments on “Airbus lowers range of A350 on increased capacity assumptions

  1. Man!!! I guess somebody finally turned the light on in the design room? There was an acceptance that smaller seat size is a reality and the airlines want what they want. Again Airbus is learning that the customer drives performance requirements. Good for them and let’s hope they actually build the three congifs and let the A330 die a natural death!!!

      • No what I meant was that Airbus had to say that in an airline’s normal cofigs of larger seat counts there is a price to pay for that. We know the added seats are added weight, but marketing always wants to promote the optimum condition. Now they share the normal over their optimum.

      • The Boeing charts shows 7 abreast business at 40 inch pitch and 6 abreast First without aisle access at 60 inch. A typical seat specification until the early nineties. It works great if you like to calculate effiency per seat based on those and compare them with more realistic cabins..90% of the press/ public will go with it.

        • So could you give us a couple of examples from the riches of Airbus misdirection?

  2. Hmmm, something coming up in flight testing that says the A-350 might be burning more fuel than spec’d for?
    Let’s see how the Airbus cheerleaders spin this.

    • Nothing sinister about this T’boom.

      The more payload an aircraft carries, the less range it has.

      Quite an easy idea to get your head round. If you’re still struggling, just look at any payload range chart on the boeing or airbus website.

    • Don’t say that!!! The A350-900 is by far a better designed, better performing, a/c than anything coming from the Northwest US!!! No way performance is below, it has to be far in excess!!! If the A350-1000 is a 12 hour a/c then why can’t the industry get behind routes being a max of 12 hours? Stupid customers!!!!!

  3. I wonder how this relates to EK’s Clark’s comments of the “A350-1000XWB” as a “10-12 hour plane”.

    “By contrast, Clark sees the Airbus A350-1000 as an aircraft for 10-12 hour missions. “It does not have the legs of the 777X,” he says”-*

    *-Aviationweek-June 04, 2013

    • I’m not sure how your quote adds anything we didn’t know yakoub. That’s precisely what the A350-1000 is, a 777-300ER beater with a max p-r approaching 6000nm. (ie, it’ll fly full of pax and cargo upto 12 hour sectors, the same as the 77W)

      If you want to fly further, remove payload and trade for fuel, just as long haul 77W operators do today.

      Payload range is not a difficult concept folks!

      • Clark’s comment was in context of the A35J replacing the B77W-and he still doesn’t seem satisfied it can (at least that’s what I’m understanding it as).

        Previously, Richard Jewsberry of EK stated that the A35JXWB was a “Super B77A” replacement (IIRC Clark stated that as well). I don’t have the quote of that on-hand and this was before the “thrust” bump-up so obviously some things have changed. Regardless, neither Clark nor Al Baker are still “overly-keen” on the A35J as a “true B77W” replacement. Of course, other carriers such as CX, SQ, etc. have ordered it so obviously its going to be a great plane.

      • He was talking about the 777X in general but I’d say you’re right based on the design range of those jets:

        > B777-9: 8100nm
        > B777-8: 9400nm
        > A350-1000: 8400nm

        Flying an 14 hours sector at full payload is something neither 779 and A351 can do.

  4. Dual-class capacities are unchanged from old quotes.

    But how about this: A350-1000 shows a 0.52m disconnect between 74.3m on “landing page” and the old 73.78m on “Dimensions & key data” page. Has the -1000 grown half a meter?

    • Sometimes the fuselage length is quoted, sometimes the total length (the rear end of the vertical tail extends over the fuselage).

  5. It is not to complicated math to put Airbus statements in question, the A350 range flies 90 (800) 85 (900) and 75 (1000) nm per tonne of fuel. The 900 looses 350nm i.e. 350/85= 4.1 tonnes. 14 pax weighs 14*95.3=1.334t. So 14 seats weigh 198kg each, pretty hefty seats I must say 🙂 . MSN003 has just done the bulk of the performance flying, time to tell the world the truth. I don’t think there is any problem with the engines or aero, just that the OEW is north of 140t and not 135t as planned. There is a lot of talk that the MEW is 3t overweight, can well be but then the cabin ads another tonne or so, pretty normal progress.

  6. I7room, this has nothing to do with smaller seats. Nothing. Just fewer large (F,C) seats. The payload range curve doesn’t change either. You are just moving on the curve, not the curve itself. rgds

  7. That’s not new. Whe can find Airbus slides from 2011 showing this 2 class layout with the range assumption
    Was 7800 nm for a350-900 and 8250 nm for -800
    So no change
    Weight of 2 class Airbus layout is for A330 family very close to real airlines layout. And they are heavier than typical 3 class.
    For -1000, the 8000 mm in this layout is at least 2000 mm more than 777-300er 3 class 10 abreast which is lighter than real life one

  8. All BS guys! The A359 (the only one that has actually flown) just lost 350nm and gained 1 seat (314 to 315). That’s nothing more than pure marketing razzle dazzle.

  9. Realistic seems two class cabins on A350-800 and -900 and include First on the -1000. And a few economy plus rows.

    • on second thought.. better do 2 class on the-1000 too. It would lead to far reaching conclusions / news by some if the -900 has the same seatcount as -1000. Efficiency (per seat), range adjustments .. better don’t go there 😉

  10. Also, how far will the A350-1000 be able to fly with around 330 pax/baggage (most likely in-operation seating figure considering direct aisle access J class) and cargo?

  11. Scott- this is way off topic. I am shocked by the little amount of performance updates coming from the A350 flight test program. By now the 787 had come close to falling out of the sky, and every reporting agency had a field day reporting flight test activities. From engine PIPs, to side of body failures, the world knew every step of testing. Why nothing like that from the A350 and Airbus? Has the test gone so well that there are no need for performance updates? If it is going so well why no updates on fuel burn?

    • I7room, amybe flight testing and the number of unexpected problems delays is lower then the Dreamliner. It a possibility. I think we hear little because everyone wants to have an interesting Dubai press conference next week.

  12. As has been already pointed out, these particular figures have been in the public domain for over two years now- hence any conclusion that flight test performance has been reflected in these figures is just plain wrong. Based on the public statements so far from senior management, things are going well. The COO of the company is not unlikely to publicly say that the aircraft is performing to spec if it is not performing to spec.

    • Sorry, it should read as – The COO of the company is unlikely to publicly say that the aircraft is performing to spec if it is not performing to spec.

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