Airbus is sounding out operators to determine whether there is a realistic demand of an aircraft larger than the A350-1000.
While the discussions and its own internal studies are only preliminary, they give the clearest indication so far that the airframer is exploring the potential of further development of the family.
The A350-1000 has been redesigned to provide greater capability while the A350-800 has effectively been abandoned in favour of re-engining the A330.
CEO for Customers John Leahy, speaking during Paris Airshow, said that the -900 was no longer the A350´s centre of reference, but that this middle point has “moved toward the -1000”.
Rather than a double-stretch strategy –about which he has expressed skepticism- Leahy said further development of the -1000 might be closer to “one and a half”.
The degree of flexibility available to Airbus to enhance the -1000´s design without substantial alterations will form part of the studies.
But Leahy stressed that the priority is to explore whether there is any genuine demand for an upgrade. Airbus has already projects in progress aimed at finding ways to raise capacity I the A359 family by up to 20 seats within next 5 years.
Based on the article “Airbus toys with growing A350 family” published in Flight International.