Airbus augments A350-1000 capability

June 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus has quietly announced it will augment the payload and range capability of the Airbus A350-1000 when certified. The latest Aircraft Characteristics for Airport and Maintenance Planning guide (ACAP) for A350 increases the aircraft’s maximum weight before fuel is loaded and its maximum take-off weight.

At the same time, the A350-900ULR variant’s maximum take-off weight is now available as a standard weight variant (no 10).

Improvements for A350-1000

During the certification tests of a new aircraft, it’s verified if an aircraft can fly with a higher load than originally planned. Static and fatigue strength tests reveal if the aircraft structure has margins. Flight tests (especially the spectacular Vmu test, the one where the tail is scraped in the runway to test minimum lift-off speed) show if the planned flight characteristics are present.

For most of these tests, the aircraft is designed with a margin. When these margins are not consumed by reality, the performance data for the aircraft can be improved. One of the most performance affecting areas are the aircraft weights.

When weights can be increased without compromises in airfield performance, the payload or range of the aircraft improves. Range is dictated by how much fuel can be filled, once the aircraft is filled with passenger and cargo (the payload).

For a given empty weight and payload, a higher Max Take-Off Weight (MTOW) will increase available fuel and therefore range. The weight increase for -1000 goes from the planned 308t for Weight Variant 1 (WV001) to 311t for WV002 and finally 316t for WV003. A 3t tonnes weight increase for fuel means 150nm additional range; the 8t gives 450nm.

The weight variants also offer a higher Zero Fuel Weight. This means more payload can be loaded before the rest of the weight has to be fuel (fuel goes in the wings and doesn’t stress the aircraft as much as weight entered in the fuselage). Both WV002 and WV003 allow an additional 3t of payload before fuel. This means another 30 passengers can be loaded (if there are seats for them) or another 3t of cargo on shorter routes (below 5,500nm for a nominal aircraft).

ULR weights now available for standard A350-900

The latest guide also shows the special MTOW of the A350-900ULR of 280t as a standard weight variant, WV010. This means the standard A350-900 can be flown an additional 800nm over the range of the standard 268t version (WV000). The additional payload that can be loaded in this variant is 3.7t (MZFW 195.7t instead of 192t).

129 Comments on “Airbus augments A350-1000 capability

  1. This is very good news for Airbus. The A350 seems to be growing into a very capable aircraft.

    Ethiopian Airlines certainly won’t be the only customer buying more frames.

  2. A feature of the way Airbus play things seems to be their conservative publication of anticipated performance which is then progressively improved upon regularly during in service development. We have seen this on the A320/A330/A380 over the years and again now on the A350. The A330 has seen such a considerable change in the capability of the airframe that two ostensibly similar aircraft from early delivery to now are really apples to oranges in their performance.

    This seems at odds with the Boeing approach where they are possibly a bit more aggressive in their promises to airlines in the first instance, a target which they may or may not hit in early production. And when developing the capability of the airframe they have a tendency to do a bit more in the way of renaming etc.

    The A351 has just gotten quite a bit more capable

    • What is slightly unusual for Airbus is that these increases in performance are coming at a very early stage in the program. The -1000 is yet to enter service. It’s starting to look like they have hit a homerun with the A350.

      • Perhaps that means there’s more to come.

        They’ve got a lot of experience now with the engines and the whole A350 family’s performance, so presumably there is scope for Airbus being confident of their performance estimates.

        I think we will all agree with your comments on the A350 being a home run. I think it’s looking like it could be all things to all airlines. Efficient (certainly more efficient than originally hoped for), a hit with passengers, right kind of sizes, right kind of ranges, with options for some very long ranges indeed.

        There could be a lot of 787 operators regretting their purchasing decision over the next 10 years. There could also be quite a few 777X purchasers wondering if they’ve made the right choice. I mean, if everyone is getting jumpy about the true value of running a 400+ VLA, coming down a size to the A350-1000, -900 looks like a pretty safe option.

        What’s the betting that RR push out an Advance or Ultrafan on A350 ASAP too? That’d be pretty transformational.

        • Well, which other wings is RR going to hang them under if not the A350?

          • Wonder what a 3-engined A380 will look like along the lines of the Lockheed Tristar?

            Maybe Keesje can do something for us on this.

        • It is good for an airplane targetd to replace the 777-200’s. Airbus is turning a bit like GE, not overpromise and increasing capabilities by time. Boeing feels more like PWA at the moment, getting a bit old fashioned on some programs and asking Congress for help. Would not surprise if the new J-STAR will be a 737MAX8

        • On something different. Figures that I could get for engine weights;
          1)TRENT700: 6 160Kg,
          2)TRENT1000:~6 100Kg,
          2)TRENT7000: 7 750K g,
          3)XWB 7 250Kg.

          If correct why is the TRENT7000 so heavy?

          • 1)TRENT700: 6 160Kg,
            2)TRENT1000:~6 100Kg,
            2b)TRENT1000TEN: ???kg
            2)TRENT7000: 7 750K g,
            3)XWB 7 250Kg.

            fill in properly item 2b 🙂

    • Actually Boeing a couple of years ago revised the ranges of their aircraft downward after recognizing that weights for passengers and bags were too light compared to real life.

      • Just as they are squeezing more passengers in existing planes ( reducing toilet size or increasing the number across) the standard maximum range must be falling as thats based on ‘full passengers and their baggage’

    • /tongue-in-cheek-mode-on

      You can’t possibly mean Airbus underpromises and overdelivers, can you?!?


  3. Airbus appear to have taken the weight out of the A350-900, thus meeting the orginal weight speciifications. As the Trent XWB is outperforming its specification, the adjustments are not surprising. I expect further adjustments when new aerodynamic improvements are available together with the EP version of the Trent XWB

    The A350-1000 appears to be outperforming specification even before entering service.

    Excellent news

    • I like where youre going witlh this. EP type is a great point. They believe a solid 1 % efficiency gain is on the cards with it. That combined with ETOPS 370 mins and increased MTOW is really a game changer.

      As new markets emerge, airlines have only scatched the surface of what is possible with this range. Doesnt this open up Rio Beijing direct for the 900 ULR for example?

      It may even open up BA’s greatly desired non stop monster route from London to Auckland. It seems like it could to be in range now?

      In terms if the A350-1000, it might be the final 777-8X killer. I cant see the relevance of the 777-8X now.

      As for why Airbus would delay specifying this, competitive strategy between airlines would be my guess. Some customers may have feared their competition getting these if they had known about it and not gone with firm orders. Just speculating. The future looks bright for the A350.

      • I think the ultra long route idea is quite intersting. Rumour has it that the A350 is a pretty comfortable ride, popular with passengers. If so, perhaps they can be persuaded to go on very long flights confident that they won’t be reduced to the same state as sardines fresh from the tin…

        Another aspect of the very long route concept is that it could re-balance the whole aviation industry. The ME3 have been relying on the fact that from their Gulf hubs they can reach a large percentage of the world’s population in a single bound.

        However, if A350 can be made to do LHR-Auckland, it can be used to pull the same trick as the ME3, except you don’t need to have a hub in the Gulf; you can do it from anywhere on the planet. Perhaps this’ll need RR’s Ultrafan / Advance to make it a solid option, but we’re not far off that.

        That could be pretty bad news for Emirates / Etihad. They kinda rely on being the go-between the US/Europe and Asia, South Asia. If, suddenly, US / European airlines could fly you non-stop to your destination no matter where that is, why stop in Dubai?

        • BA isnt going to want to do Heathrow Auckland, there isnt the premium traffic you get on a route like Singapore- JFK. Even Air NZ doesnt want London nonstop as it has 5th freedom rights on LAX to Heathrow. Sydney to NY or more likely Chicago is more likely

          • BA do run a service to Auckland, but of course it has to stop along the way to refuel.

            If they could do it non-stop, wouldn’t there be a saving in landing fees, crew hours, time, aircraft cycles, etc? Might that not make it worthwhile even without a nice juicy premium business customer base?

          • Air New Zealand has announced it is looking at long range replacements for the B777-200 frames. Orders within a year. Thinking about new longer routes. I doubt London yet!

          • British Airways dont have their own flights to Auckland anymore, they fly from Sydney to London via Singapore, again its likely they have 5th freedom traffic from their stopover.

        • Ultra long range flights are very much depending on Cruise Fuel burn as you load up lots of fuel, pax and some cargo and Take-off. If you can reduce the fuel load it directly replaced with pax and cargo (Breguet range equation). So new Engines with a bit better fuel burn makes a big difference for these 15-19hr flights hence the RR Advance should quickly find its place on the A350-1000 and -900ULR. Boeing might like it for a 787-9ULR version with a name like the Trent 1090. I think SYD-LHR non stop will be common in the future.

      • The London – New Zealand routes are quite intersting.

        Great circle LHR – Auckland is north, across the Artic ocean, Western Siberia, and then a long, long haul down the Pacific.

        Yet if you point from LHR to the southern end of the south island, the great circle route is Russia, China, Indonesia and Australia.

        Going via the ME, India, Western Australia is only a couple of hundred miles further.

        Anitpodean indeed. Perhaps the pilots could ask the passengers which way they’d like to go?! Apart from winds, it would barely make any difference to the airline, so you might as well take in the sights of the world along the way.

        • A consideration that points to going via the Arctic is the heavily congested traffic routes across Europe and parts of the ME.

  4. I always had high hopes for the A350. I am very happy to see this becoming a reality.

    Best aircraft family available!

  5. I was a little sceptical about the -1000 initially, as the wings seemed to be just a tad small. Their area is smaller than that of the A340-500/600 (370 vs. 439 m²) and only slightly larger than the A340-200/300. But if you take a closer look at the weight, the picture changes.
    I couldn’t find exact figures for the empty weight, but it appears that the A350-1000 weight is very close to the A340-300 (while offering 70 seats more in a 3-class configuration), which is quite impressive.
    I really wonder if the larger wings of the 777-8 will compensate for the higher weight (aluminum body) to acchieve a similar performance as the -1000. Maybe the GE9X, which is significantly larger than the Trent XWB (3,35m vs. 3,0 m fan diameter) will help.
    Bottom line is, I expect that the lower weight of the 350-1000 will will decide the race and sales will go 2:1 or even 3:1 between the two.

    • Boeing are building the 777X out of the wrong material.

      A possible other factor is that, apparently, CF doesn’t fatigue like aluminium. It might be that buying an A350 gets you a better aircraft, and it can stay in the fleet longer too. There no saving that compares with not having to buy a replacement in years to come.

      • There isnt really much of a choice other than CF for brand new airliner wings anymore. Its just the CF process that needs to move on from autoclaves ( the MC-21 is the only one to do it so far , thats the game changer in the 200 + seat category , if only it has a western builder under license?)

        • Absolutely. Getting rid of the autoclave is certainly a good idea.

          Lay up is another big cost. RR have put a lot of effort into automated lay-up for their up-coming CF fan blades.

          McLaren have a neat trick – they need just 4 man hours of effort to make an entire, single piece, hollow CF chassis tub in a single operation for their (rather nice) cars. Four man hours is nothing compared to the old days. They’re keeping that as a trade secret. I wonder if they’ve licensed that?

      • Bro. Airlines (first purchaser of a frame) typically replace aircraft long before they run out of cycles, due to some more efficient replacement coming along. [Edited as violation of Reader Comment rules.]

  6. @Gundolf

    Your figures for the A350 with respect to wing-area are wrong.

    Wing-Area (m2): 362–439–443–461–430

    Interestingly, the wing-area of the A346 is about 21 percent bigger than the wing-area(s) of the A333/A343, while having about a 40 percent larger fuel capacity in the wing box.

    As for the wing-area of the 777X wing: According to Popular Mechanics the 777X wing will be about 20 percent bigger than the wing on the 777-300ER; or around 515m2 in wing-area for the 777X.

    • Did they tell you because of the bigger area and longer span its heavier than the Al wing it replaces. Plus including waste it uses more carbon fibre than a complete 787.

        • Boeing has dug a hole for its self with the 777X like Airbus did with the A340-500/600- change that isnt going to have any effect.
          All that production effort on a heavier wing for what? Its GE that does all the work on the new planes efficiency. They may as well just called it a Max with a new engine.

      • I used the Airbus definition of wing-area(s) in an apple-to-apple comparison.

        However, what’s your point? Do you have different figures for wing-area(s)?

        Finally, I pointed out that the wing-area of the A350-1000 is, in fact, not smaller but larger than that of the A340-500/600 — and, therefore, much bigger than the wing-area of the A340-200/300.

        • Hi OV-099. Noticed your technically/engineering orientated.

          Something totally different, aerodynamically how efficient is the 330 nose section? What could the potential improvements of the 330 be with an 350-like nose section and 787-like wing be?

          Are there ways to make the 330 more competitive and being more acceptable to the market?

          End of the day the (only?) solution maybe an 2-4-2 asymmetrical CFRP fuselage aircraft with better cargo capabilities than the “797”, with 250-270 seats (2+ class), 50 to 60K-lb ultra fans, OEW of <90T and efficient range of around 6500Nm?

          This combined with the 321/(322) and 350-900/1000 could make Airbus very competitive?

  7. Clever move by Airbus to hide the real capabilities of the A350 until production is ramped up.
    This way, Airbus has all the benefits of being the first mover, without giving Boeing the usual chance of the second mover, to present a slightly better aircraft.

    • Thats a good point, if you announce all your capabilities the competition has something to aim for. Im sure Boeing will alter all its slides to show the 350 improved position ?

      • I am sure all Boeing slides show that the 350’s seats are at least an inch wider and much more comfortable?

    • Sneaky indeed.

      It’s also a very good way of pleasing customers. They’re getting far more than they bargined for. All that commercial planning they do for a new aircraft takes a lot of effort, and when it turns out that the numbers are even better than planned it’s champagne and bonuses all round.

      With that track record, the projected risks when buying Airbus must be a lot better than when buying a Boeing. That kind of thing can have a big knock-on effect in the cost of borrowing. Money is always cheaper when risks are low.

  8. Does anybody know, what’s the purpose ofthe 210t A350-900 variant? Maybe an A330-800 replacement?

    • I believe that’s the “regional” variant as ordered by Singapore Airlines.

  9. Just a quibble of 8 tonnes of fuel for 450nm. FlightGlobal reported a picture of the A350-1000 cockpit showing a fuel burn of 6.8tonnes/hour during a flight around northern europe taking 11 hours with ~300 passengers on board. The flight took off with a weight of 292tonnes and 99 tonnes of fuel on board. The picture was taken 4 hours into the flight with 66 tonnes of fuel still on board having burnt 33 tonnes of fuel in the first 4 hours. Therefore 8 tonnes of fuel is ~530nm not 450nm.

    FlightGlobal didn’t show the picture but it does add to the evidence that the A350-1000 is outperforming its specification!

    • That as may be, but I guess that Leeham are taking a leaf out of Airbus’s book and are aiming to avoid over-estimating. Still, if your observation turns out to be correct, all the better!

    • Sorry, it should be ~570nm not ~530nm. Can’t use my calculator. The A350-1000 was cruising @ mach 0.85 at 33000ft. That is 485knots. So 8tonnes @ 6.8tonnes/hour is ~570nm not ~530nm

      @Matthew 8tonnes of fuel for 450nm would give a range of ~7000nm with 156000litres (124.8tonnes) of fuel. Airbus orginally said the range is 7990nm. So Leehams can’t use a calculator, like me!

      • This calculation of additional range is not that simple. The additional fuel’s weight results in higher induced drag and a higher fuel burn for a given airspeed.

        • Agreed. If the 6.8tonnes/hour was average with 156000litres of fuel the range is ~9000nm at MTOW of 308. Add another 9000 litres of fuel to bring it to 165000litres (the limit of the fuel tanks) then it would be ~9500nm

          Both numbers are WRONG, but the numbers are so good that when typical reductions are applied the results show the A350-1000 is outperfoming specification.

          I think the higher gross weight version of the A350-1000 will be able to fly 8700nm or more, the same distance as the 777-8 but with significantly less fuel. That is why Airbus are certifying a higher gross weight version

          • The 778 may indeed be a plane without a good niche if the 3510 can match it’s range with less mass. Perhaps B would better off building a “787-10 XLR” with a bigger wing and engine and a fuselage length that puts it between 359 and 3510 (Keesge has a drawing of this somewhere) for their ULR offering.

            I don’t think the350 “kills” the 787 family generally. The 787-9 is a lighter gauge aircraft that does much the same mission as the 359 if with slightly less space in economy (5 in. less interior width = 1/2 in less width per seat) and somewhat less pax overall. The 10 as built is very efficient with the limitation of shorter range but more pax than 359.

            Regardless, the 350 is turning out to be a GREAT aircraft though I still prefer the 2-4-2 economy seating of the 330 or 2-3-2 of the 767.

      • Normally the range is with passengers and their baggage but not cargo. Were your ‘joy ride’ carrying baggage for a long haul or were they returning to original destination ?

          • Representative is only with ‘passengers and their baggage’, there is no other way to do it.

          • @dukeofurl

            I’m sure Airbus know what representative means!

          • Philip, its your calculations from a screen shot that are not representative- merely a lighter demonstration flight

  10. I wonder if GE are beginning to regret not being in on the A350 programme? The way things are going everyone is going to be wanting A350s, and RR have it all to themselves.

    It doesn’t look like the 777X is going to repeat the stellar success of the 777 classic; it looks like that accolade might be heading to the A350. The A350-1000 has already got orders for 211; the whole 777X program is currently at 326, orders are trickling in these days. What if Airbus start offering the -1100 too?

    They’ve done very well on 787 of course, but that’s pretty much stopped attracting new orders.

    RR have economies of scale in R&D; every improvement they can make in Trent XWB can pretty much go to the Trent 1000, and vice versa. GE make an improvement to the GEnx, where else can they leverage that? GE9x? Not quite so easy.

    I can’t see any large aircraft that GE have engines for that’s got a good orders roadmap from this point in time. They may or may not be working on a large GTF, but what would they put it on? What if they can’t get exclusivity on the (still theoretical) Boeing NMA?

    • funny, the 787 got 50 orders at Paris to 10 for the A350. who’s having trouble attracting orders?

      777 also got 6 for the legacy frame, helping to fill the valley.

      then SIA firmed up 20 777x and 19 787s today.

          • as if any are? your point is? list price is a fiction. >80% of commercial aircraft sales are in the 50-60% of list price range for both Boeing and Airbus.

          • To be straight, I suspect Boeing to sell these wide bodies at “very” discounted prices, percentage wise significant more than Airbus is doing with the A350?!

          • based on what evidence? wishful thinking?

            both the 787-9 and A350-900 are great planes, both are effectively sold out for the next several years (although Boeing has some near term production headroom for additional sales that Airbus doesn’t)
            the A350-800 which is the direct A350 competitor to the 787-9 is not selling at all because it is a dog. similarly the 777-8x is not selling as the A350-1k has better economics.

          • Maybe its horses for courses, larger airlines could operate a combination of 787-9’s and A350’s. Smaller airlines don’t have that luxury.

            Just one gribe with the 787’s, the 3-3-3 seating is not made for long haul. Wish airlines allocates more seats to economy+ and less to 1-2-1 business/first.

            E+ at 2-4-2 and 34-36″ pitch will already make a big difference, see BA is 2-3-2 (38″) but UAL’s E+ with 3-3-3 at 35″ pitch is of no use.

          • @ bilbo: the reason the A350-800 is not a dog, it’s simpy not existing, which is why it’s not selling.
            It’s been replaced with the A330-900.
            You might say the A330-800 is a dog, as it’s selling pretty slow, but that might still change when replacements for 767s and A300/310/330-200 are needed. And in case it ends up being again lighter than planed and the Trent 7000 better than expected,…

          • @gundolf – actually it is not existing because it wasn’t selling.

            it wasn’t selling because it was a dog compared to the 787-9.

            it was such a dog that Airbus was forced to incentivize the few customers it did have to move up to the -900 so that they wouldn’t lose money certifying and making it.

          • Hi Bilbo, appreciate your loyalty to the 787, but have you flown 14+ hours in the middle seat of its 3-3-3 in the back at 31″ pitch?

          • @anton, I’m not loyal to anything, and have never had the pleasure of flying on either plane, but I have done a lot of flying and IMHO, seat pitch is much more critical to comfort than seat width, especially when we are talking fractions of an inch of width. for instance, I have done dozens of flights each on American Airlines 737s and A320s. the 737s are configured with an extra inch of pitch and are dramatically more comfortable than the 0.8″ wider but shorter pitched A320 seats. I don’t blame boeing or airbus for this, I blame AA and their cattle car mentality.

            the blame for seat packing belongs with the airlines, not the aircraft.

            I also find it interesting that when your sales argument fell through you changed the subject to seat width.

          • The787’s are good aircraft and airlines like them because they can squeeze in the 3-3-3. Maybe I am biased because of my frame (6.4″/230lb’s), worried that Boeing will build the MoM with the intend of 18″ 2-3-2 and airlines will do a squeeze to 2-4-2, then rather start/make it 2-4-2 at 17.5″

            Think the economics of an A330-800 in 3-3-3 (which some airlines do) could approach that of the 787-9? Fortunately never flew in one of those.

            Getting back to the MoM, once flew in a B767-300ER in economy (standard) 2-3-2 with 36″ pitch, can’t get much better than that at the back.

      • Are we now comparing orders of assets worth tens of millions per item over a single week, or were you trying some form of humour?

    • “What if Airbus start offering the -1100 too?”

      The increased MTOW now makes the 1100 a genuine possibility I think. It depends on whether the airlines want it of course. I see it as a modest stretch of the 1000, as the new MTOW already caters for extra seats, but I do think they will build it (partly with a view to re-engining it with Ultrafans in the future as a NEO if necessary.)

      Boeing will release the 777-9X,and 10X only I think. The 8X won’t cut it.

      • Airbus lost the Singapore order to the 777-9 over the A350-1200. Hence the A350-1200 needs to be improved to win. You cannot do much with the structure and aero, what remains if you keep the Trent XWB-97k Engines is the wings, they are the -1000 wings that are a modified version of the -900 wings. Hence Airbus must bite the bullet and design new wings for the -1200, that might also be used on a A350-1000ULR. Timing might be right to put the RR Advance Engines onto these Aircrafts. Airbus are now in wait mode for the 797 design to have Money and engineers to design its competetive responses. (A322 is a given with new larger composite wings, if Airbus is fast and keep the neo Engines they can beat Boeing to the market by 5 years, if they hesitate and wait for the 797 certified Engines they miss their chance)

        • I am not overly convinced about the market size for aircraft off the 777-9/10 size. The A380/(747’s) are/were in classes of there own.

          Think Boeing’s big going on about the end of the VLA 4 engine aircraft is to promote the 777-9 and potential 10X, and because there could be a demand for A380-like aircraft 5-10 years from now? First A380’s delivered in 2008.

          The oldest 777-300ER’s are only 13 years old, replacement are actually due for 777-200ER’s (~420 build), 777-200LR’s, only 59 build.

          If Airbus can push up the range for the 350-1000 with and ULR variant to ~8500Nm it will cover the 777-8’s. Maybe with tweaked wing and ultrafan engines that could also be used for an 350-1000+ with minor stretch(~4m)/re-arranged interior adding around 40 seats and range of 7000-7500Nm?

          On something different, no US airlines have ordered 777X’s, wonder what Emirates, SIA and others are paying for it? There could be no dumping claims as there are no US sales? Maybe Delta should order one B777-9?

          • What I actually trying to get to is that the A350-1000 is a competent aircraft that can stand and deliver against the 777X’s in may ways, an 8500Nm range variant maybe be a more urgent requirement than an 350-1000+?

            I do however see a more urgent requirement for an Airbus aircraft that breaks the 787-9 growing dominance in its market.

            Think Airbus hoped it will be the 330-900 but the market does not. The delays with Trent7000’s is also not helping its cause.

        • Just one of my stupid questions, how many doors will be used on an 777-9 to board, deplane? If it is only two it will be almost in the same situation as a 200 seat single aisle using one door?

          Hand luggage and overhead storage are areas where there could/should be major improvements. Wonder what will happen if duty-free shops are only allowed in arrival hauls?

        • I know wings don’t grow on trees but was wondering what the viability will be of an 350-900 (same fuselage and centre section=length) with smaller, lighter wing and weight savings where possible, 70-75K-Lb ultra-fan engines, MTOW (250T?) with a range of ~7000Nm (call it the A350-500)?

          It could potentially be good competition to both the 787-9 (seat mile cost) and -10 (sector cost) and have application to many routes as well as airlines and be a suitable replacement for 330-300’s in future.

          This could be a solution to the 330-900 “problem” and put Airbus in a position to build a MoM/NMA/260 seats, 5000-6000Nm, 50K-Lb engines, OEW <90T.

          • The A350XWB has a bit too wide body for a MoM, too heavy and too much drag, the A330 cross section is smaller with 2+4+2 and 2ea LD-3’s and pretty optimal in my opinion. The trick is to design an A330 version with much lower empty mass to compete with the 797 and come to market earlier. It smells like a switch to an Al-Li body and new slender carbon wings maybe based on the A330-900 wingbox and the leading edge structure. (i.e. much smaller chord especially outbord of the pylons). It all comes down to the 797 spec’s and prize, sounds its new Engines will cost $25M each and $750/EFH in total care cost. I.e. double the present A330 Engines cost.

          • Thanks Claes. Bottom line is that Airbus needs to do something in the 220 – 280 seat market. Seems the 797 is gaining momentum with airlines thus lack of interest in the 330?

          • Claes, just to clear-up the “350-500” idea, see that as an A330 replacement.

            Don’t think a “band-aid” A330 will do the trick for a MoM.

            Planing and deplaning times will become more important in future with less/shorter slot times available at airports, there the 322 will run into serious problems if only one door can be used

            Thing the Boeing concept of a light small wide body is the way to go, Airbus must just decide if they want to be in that market or not?

    • Are you an Airbus PR guy? Sounds like it…..

      Seriously, stop.

      Your attempts to somehow spin that how Boeing got more orders than Airbus shows that airlines are “regretting their Boeing choice” this year is pretty weak. Both make great aircraft, and the Airbus A350-1000 is no different.

      Or that GE is regretting their highly profitable decisions is a joke. Perhaps you think GE and Pratt should jump all in for the unknown A380NEO? I’m sure that would be a wise choice to make right now….

      • No, not an Airbus or RR PR. Of course I know that GE are profitable, busy and excellent company, but I’m convinced they made a major strategic error in not joining in with the A350 programme when invited to do so by Airbus.

        With the A350 looking pretty good, I’m extrapolating what that means going into the future. If Airbus really have succeeded in covering both the 787 and 777-8 with just the A350, and if (big if, but I’m not hearing much to the contrary) it is a superior design to both, then what does that mean in the future market place?

        I think it will create a situation similar to that in the 737-A320 competition. Many observers reckon that Airbus easily get as many orders as they want with airlines going to 737, well, sort of as a second choice. That’s a crude way of putting it, but A320 production capacity does seem to be the only limit on the size of the A320/neo market.

        I think that the same thing could happen with 787/777 vs A350, especially if they do an A350-1100 too. The difference is that the size of the wide body market is smaller, so Airbus could be in a position to soak up a bigger share than they have in the narrow body market. There’s a lot of A330s and 777 classics to be replaced over the coming decades, and I think the A350 is extremely well placed to pick up the major chunk of that, and GE lose out.

        Meanwhile every $ of GE R&D spend has to be directed at either the 787 or 777x markets. Airbus may succeed in curtailing the future size of both those markets with their all-things-to-all-men A350, which would make GE’s future R&D balance of investment decisions harder.

        To ensure that that doesn’t happen, GE needs some other outlet for their big engines. I think they should make a pitch to support an A350-1100 programme, even if RR have an exclusivity deal.

        • Strategic error? GE? Could the same logic be applied to GE being the sole engine supplier for the 77W, which has sold handsomely over the last ten years? Here’s David Joyce, head of GE’s aero-engine’s arm at the PAS last week. “What happens is, all three of us spend a lot of money to design a brand-new engine and then all of a sudden you’re splitting the market,” Joyce said. “You look at the returns on that and, unless you find a bunch more applications for that engine immediately, you end up in a world where it just doesn’t work.”

          Followed by “Think of the difference between whether you’re sole or not,” Joyce said. “In terms of how you make the business case and return on investment, it’s no cheaper to build the engine if there’s two of you than if there’s one—but the return on it is a hell of a lot different.” GE has already gone through three rounds of submissions on the new Boeing plane, he said.

          The long and short of it is, GE is not going to go full throttle only to maybe get a percentage of the pie. Also, the A350-1000 stretch is not going to happen.

          • “Also, the A350-1000 stretch is not going to happen.”

            Not yet but certainly later. If Boeing launches the MOM/NMA/797, Airbus will essentially have a tw0 bird portfolio, the A32x series and the A35x series. However they have a lot of (engineering) capacity idle ATM.

      • Oh please, give over. Where were you for Paris last week where he praised the -10 orders (despite the fact that the conversions flattered it).

        Sorry, the blog doesn’t praise Boeing 24/7 (there wasn’t even any real Boeing critcism here, so god only knows ehat you’re even crying about), head to Saj Ahmad’s blog, or VeroVenia if you want some Boeing sycophancy.

        • Bee,

          I’m not talking about the blog; its about Martin’s incessant cheerleading.

          You are forgiven.

          Nice try.

    • Many 777 classics are still too young for big replacement orders. Time will tell if the 777X will get those orders or if the A350-1000 or -1100 will eat into Boeing’s market share.

      The performance data certainly helps Airbus. And I’m still a bit wary if the 777-9X won’t be just above the tipping point in capacity.

  11. Nice airplane….yet every A350 is another nail in the coffin of the A380….and confirmation of Boeing’s p2p analysis.

    • Singapore Airlines A380 seating ( 4 class) 379 and (3 class 409), while A350 ( 3 class) is 253.
      As you can see theres no way the smaller plane will replace the larger with that airline. Another one ? Qatar has 283 seats in A350s while its A380s seat 517.
      Boeing has never had a P2P stategy, they wouldnt have built the 747-8 and the 777X if they thought that was the way ahead.
      Guess what, when the very first 747s were flying , it was Douglas who was promoting ‘their idea of the P2p’ with the DC8 long range models. I guess that didnt work out so good for them .

  12. Hello Bjorn

    So finally what is the correct range figure for A350-900 280t ?
    Can these increase cover a weight creek ?

    Another tiny improvement is 100 Nm on the A330-200F going to 4100nm in the range mode (65 t payload) : probably the A330-200 242t package flowing in the marketing books

    Waiting for the revised A330NEO MTOW :d

    Best regards

    • Bjorn would know better but afaik, 245 tonnes is what they’re shooting for with the A339.

  13. The word a few months ago was tey are looking at 251 tonnes for the A330neo, range “up over 7,000nm”

    • Hi Keeje, if you put a smaller (~380 vs 440 square m?) and lighter wing on an A350-900 with 75K-Lb engines (reduced MTOW) and 7000Nm range won’t it have better economics than an A330-900?

    • Hi Keesje, I didn’t know about existence of the A321Neo-ACF. See in Flight Global “section 17” increased by 3m in length. Is it an actual “stretch”? Will it use higher thrust engines and/or requires certification as a new type/variant.

      This could put the MAX10 a notch backwards?

      Delta could like this one, maybe thats why they stayed with 321Ceo’s in the interim? See link below.

      • It’s just a bog-standard A321 with different exit door arrangement which increases the capacity. The plane is exactly the same length as every other A321.

      • actually, what it will do is make boarding and deplaning an A321 just like getting on and off the dreaded 757 when the airbridge doesn’t reach door2. except there will be no door 2 so it will always be terrible.

        if you are near the back of the plane be ready for a 45 minute wait to get off.

          • emergency exit only.

            really long single aisle aircraft are awful, and when you have to board/deplane all the way up at the cockpit (as will always be the case with this new A321 variant, and is often the case with 757s when at a gate without a sufficiently long jetbridge) they are extra terrible.
            at least if you can board at door2, you effectively have a 1.33 aisle aircraft since about 25% of passengers go forwards….

          • Thanks, thought so. Hopefully if there is an A322 door 2 will back.

            (Fortunately in my part of the world we just park aircraft next to the nearest tree).

            To be “serious”, this arrangement is suitable for where aircraft don’t use air bridges (where I come from) when >90% of time you board using the front door only and deplane using both back and front doors.

            Learned my lesson with connecting flights, anything less than 2 and a half hours and you going to get trouble at some stage.

          • .. and the solution is so very easy:

            Board from both ends and half boarding times.

          • Many of us are happy about the A350-1000’s performance news. But, then also seeing photographs of Norwegian’s new MAX8’s, triggered a button or two.

            Think I can see the MoM now, forget about the existence of the current single aisles or twin aisles. Using one engine thrust, one wing size, ~ same MTOW, seat capacity (2 class plus E+), the following; 2-3-2 seating, 45-(50) K-lb engines.

            1) 250 Seats – 5000Nm “base model”, medium haul,
            2) 280 Seats – 4000Nm, stretch, shorter haul, high density,
            3) 220 Seats – 6000Nm, shrink, longer haul, thin routes.

            Airbus can do it but then they must not try to make the 322 a long haul aircraft and the 330 a short haul aircraft.

            Build around the 350, phase out the 330, and build something new for the 220-280 seat class with ranges of 4000 – 6000Nm.

          • Anton , the fuel capacity now days is generally fixed no matter what the fuselage length, so those small changes in passenger numbers , while affecting max range, arent anything like changes in range you suggest. The range comes from wing and centre box fuel tanks which are essentially fixed ( unless you have a wing change)

            Once the manufacturers did have significant range options eg A330-200 was far more than A330-300. But that all changed when they offered the A330-300 with the wing box fuel tank ( it was there all along) , same as the -200.

            Bombardier models have much the same range, even though most flights will be shorter, which is achieved by leaving the wing box tank empty, the engine thrust is the preferred option to choose if you dont need the long range ( that too is the same engine, just derated by a computer control).

            A new aircraft from Boeing could have essentially the same range eg 5000nm +- 400nm ( based on your choices) for the different fuselage lengths. The engine will have options for higher or lower thrust ( to account for preferred range which could be well down on 5000nm)

            Airlines and lessors want complete flexibility for a single plane that has a economic life of 20 years, so range is something they want to be able to have a choice over, much like the internal cabin layout and the engine thrust options they now have.

        • Fortunately most of the times I flew in a 757 was in the front with AA, excellent.

          Boarding you can control to some extent but deplaning generally chaos. Maybe should show an educational video on deplaning as taxing to the terminal?

        • What is the difference in time by deplaning a single aisle plane from row 38 or an old Jumbo from row 58? In a widebody you have to fight the other passengers from the second aisle shortly before you reach the exit to finally leave the plane!

          • If I may comment from personal experience/observations.

            Getting hand luggage from overhead storage is a big bottle neck with single aisles, pax often goes a row or 3 “upstream” to get there stuff because overhead storage full at “their row”. Boarding from back to front relieves this.

            Wide bodies are mostly used for longer haul and think people take prorata less hand luggage relative to storage space. With single aisles (short haul) pax often try to avoid waiting for hull luggage in the terminal and want to move on after landing, hence things get cramped in the cabin.

            (I once flew in a brand new A320 in South America where two elderly ladies had chickens in the overhead, that’s an extreme example).

            If you look at the following, consider the load on the aisle/s and access to overheads;

            1)Single aisle: OOO->AisleAisleAisle<-OO

  14. Fascinating development which shows how clever Airbus is playing the wide body long game.

    As predicted a few years back, the A350 will outperform the 777 because it is smaller, lighter, and more versatile. Furthermore, there will be more A350 performance surprises to come. For sure. Thx 777-X (an upgraded old aluminum plane ) won’t do much better than it already did. Although the 777x will do better than the A380 for certain, but it won’t go much farther. The 7771o is dead on arrival. Not many airlines will need those planes. Also remember, that many aircraft purchases are politically driven and the political climate and oil prices change.

    Boeing’s big hits will be the 787-10 and the 797. That’s about it. The A330neo will eventually die and likely be replaced with something between the 797 and the 787. The A380 will be neonized as a final attempt or die.

    The A350 is clean sheath and sized correctly. If stretched further, it still would be the biggest, lightest clean sheath twin. It will take decades before Boeing can catch-up to that.

    I agree that those who chose the 777x instead of the A350 made a mistake- Emirates. By ordering both, Etihad and Qatar were playing it safe which is very clever. If the concern for an excess in wide bodies is real and that fuel prices will go back up, the 777X will fall short.

    UAL (continental DNA) is pro-Boeing so the A350 order is vulnerable since fuel and 777-300ER prices are low.

    Delta is progressive and will ultimately take its airbus jets with their new suites. Delta would be a fool not to experiment with a few A380’s out of Atlanta divert business from AA and UAL hubs in Miami, Dallas, Houston by offering something new and increased capacity. Emirates .. sounds familiar?

    • Agree on the 777X, real pink elephant. If Airbus snooker them on the MoM, who knows?

      • Dont think so. Airlines who had used the 777-300ER think GE can do the same winning formula with the new GE9X, using some technologies from itsGEnx and Leap engines and adding some new ones.
        GEs reputation is normally better than Boeings and better than RR

        • Thanks, personally I like the 77W. Could it have been an option for Boeing to do a MAX on the 777 with new (CFRP?) wing and new engines. Guess they considered it?

          Instead of the 777X the MoM could have been flying in 2020, engines a likely issue?

          • The A350-1000 is nearly 25% more efficient than the 77W.

            Just doing an engine NEO on the 77W would not have cut it in any way. Even for the 777X you need to scope in going from 9abreast to 10abreast show adequate improvement. ( though that already has been leveraged by 77W users already.)

          • If I was an airline requiring something between 350 and 400 seats there is no doubt in my mind it must be the 350-1000.

            There are potentially so many options around the 350-900/1000, depending on what airlines need and which will be proftiable. Just a few;

            1)350-1000+, 3.5m stretch, but low priority in my eyes,
            2)350-1000-, 3.5m shrink of the 1000, 9500Nm,
            3)350-900+, 3.5m stretch of the -900, 7000Nm,
            4)350-900 “Lite-Regional”, new XWB wing, wingbox, 75K-Lb engines, 6500Nm,
            5)350-800New, Shrink of the-900, same wing, wingbox, engines as the 350-Regional. 7500-8000Nm, replacing the 330-900.

            The A350 will hopefully have a very long future.

          • Why this obsession with different range versions of the same plane, the A350 in this case.
            The published numbers show the different versions are around the 8000nm number, slightly bigger or smaller as you would expect for the different fuselage weights and passenger /baggage payload. The ULR version was just a software change in the fuel loading software.

  15. I guess if I’m reading this correctly,the A350-1000 HGW will be able to carry 369 patients in a 9 abreast configuration on 8400 nautical miles missions?

    Cleverly positioned between the 777-8 and the 777-9.

    • Looks like that, not sure if it will require extra thrust and/or other tweaks, could this be the build up to the 350K+?

      Hope the ME airlines (and Uthers) are having another (close) look at the 350K. Could be my imagination but on video footage it appears that it is even more “stable” on landing approach than the -900?

      But also Airbus, please also consider an A350-9XX with smaller, lighter wing, possibly new wing box/centre section (maybe 5 panel =3,2m) shrink (OEW and MTOW’s fairly similar to the 787-9) and ~75K-lb ultra-fan engines with a range of ~7000Nm.

      Will fit in perfectly between the 787-9/10 and meet a lot of airline requirements that do not need 8000+ Nm ranges of the heavier -900 but also don’t want the the aging 330’s (including NEO). It should comfortably outperform the -9 on seat mile cost and the -10 on sector cost.

      Previously I called it the 350-500 (with reference to the 330-300).

      • An airline that doesnt need the extra range, they just dont fill the wing box and other centre wing tanks for the flight. If the planes are dedicated to particular medium range flights you just order the lower thrust engine ( as the heavier fuel load isnt required)
        heres a list of the thrust choices for the RR XWB engine
        and the bigger engine for the 35K at 97,000lb
        The thrust ratings can be fairly easily changed – for a cost.

        Thats all you need to vary in order to fly medium range routes, not smaller fuel tank capacity

  16. Some people on this forum said the 777 family will not be successful because the market they are aimed for is limited pointing to Lufthasa postponement of delivery.
    All those negative comments about the 777X family is also applicable to the a35K.
    Suddenly every body is singing the praise of the a350, all of this will not matter if the aircraft is not popular with airlines, when last was an a350-1000 ordered?

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