Paris 2011: Airbus Boosts A350-1000 To Take on Boeing 777
Airbus has revealed that first deliveries of its A350XWB-800 and A350XWB-1000 will be delayed by two years–to mid-2016 and mid-2017, respectively. At a briefing in Paris on Saturday, it claimed the delay of the -1000 would allow it to boost the payload-range performance to better match the Boeing 777-300ER, which is something its customers have been asking for. “The A350-1000 now sits right on top of the 777-300ER,” insisted Fabrice Brégier, Airbus COO, who added that the price for the -1000 would be increased by $9 million to reflect the enhancement. According to Rolls-Royce president Mark King, the Trent XWB engine, which powers the A350-1000, will have its maximum rated thrust increased from 93,000 to 97,000 pounds, although the only difference from the engines powering the other variants will be a slightly larger (scaled up) core, and the insertion of various technology refinements flowing from its Advance 3 technology demonstrator program. The result is that the A350-1000 will be able to fly about 400 nm farther (8,400 nm with a full load of 350 passengers), or carry 4.5 tons more payload. It will be created by adding five frames in the aft fuselage section and six frames in the front section to stretch the baseline A350-900. The -1000 will require some strengthening linked to the higher mtow, and a further optimized wing. King confirmed that, in return for its further investment of time and money, Rolls-Royce is now the exclusive engine supplier for the A350-1000, although not for the A350-800 and A350-900. Airbus COO for customers John Leahy said that no customer had yet asked for an alternative engine. Currently, six Trent XWB engines are being tested, with flight testing of one of the engines on an A380 due to start by the end of this year. The higher thrust version of the engine is scheduled to run for the first time in mid-2014. The order book for the A350 stands at 140 for the A350-800; 359 for the A350-900; and 75 for the A350-1000.