Airbus plans to offer airlines an update by the Farnborough Air Show in July on its potential plans to come out with a bigger variant of the A350 wide-body jetliner so it can better challenge the order success of Boeing’s enlarged 777X.
The aircraft, a longer version of the A350-1000 --itself already a so-called stretch model-- would be offer more seats in 3-class configuration than Boeing’s 777-9, Airbus’s chief salesman John Leahy said.
While A350-900 (325 seats) and A350-1000 (366 seats) is sufficient to combat existing 777 variants and the upgraded 777-8, Airbus doesn’t currently have a twin-aisle model to offer the capacity of Boeing’s 777-9, a maximum of 425 people.
Airbus is studying whether there is a big enough market at 30 to 40 seats larger than the current A350-1000, Leahy said.
“We’re starting to conclude that perhaps there is such a market and now we’re talking to key airlines about what we might be able to do in that market but no final decision has been made,” Leahy said.
“We’ll certainly be able to give you an update at Farnborough.”
Leahy said the new variant would have more seats than the 425 seats maximum capacity of the Boeing 777-9.
Leahy said that the Rolls-Royce Plc engines now offered for the A350-1000 would be sufficient to power a larger variant, though would likely need some thrust added.
“There will not be a brand new engine," Leahy said.
"We might increase the thrust of it, but it will be the same engine technology if we were to do the airplane. We study a lot of things of which some end up in the market and some don’t."
Based on the article “Airbus Targets Farnborough Show for Update on Bigger A350-1000” published in Bloomberg.