The A350 is the latest Airbus contribution to the competitive wide-body, long-range airliner market. The aircraft is intended as a direct competitor to the popular Boeing 777 and the newer, though troubled, Boeing 787 "Dreamliner". Production of early-form airframes began in 2010 with a first-flight expected sometime in 2013. Barring developmental delays, committed airlines will begin receiving the product beginning in 2014 to which production is estimated to reach 592 units based on received orders to date (2013). As of this writing, there are commitments from 35 total airline firms worldwide.
The A350 was born from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner program announcement. Airbus was initially slow to react until customers required a competing type promising the savings of the advanced 787. With that, a modified version of the A330 emerged until enough changes were instituted that the aircraft was given its own company designation of "A350". However, its most important customers were not impressed with the Airbus reaction to the Boeing offering and pushed Airbus to produce an all-new design incorporating the latest in available technologies. This resulted in a completed reworked and refined A350 concept which was eventually approved while delaying the A350 program considerably.
Currently, the A350 will be marketed in five distinct production forms. The base airliner model will be the A350-800 with seating for up to 440 passengers in a 2- or 3-class seating arrangement (270 passengers feasible). The longer A350-900 and proposed A350-900R will feature seating for up to 475 persons across a similar 2- or 3-class arrangement (314 passengers feasible). The proposed A350-900F will be a dedicated freight hauler (90 tons of cargo) while the A350-1000 will be an expanded, lengthened passenger airliner with seating for up to 550 persons across a 2- or 3-class seating structure (350 passengers feasible). The A350-800 will sport a running length of 198.6 feet while the A350-900, -900R and -900F will see a length reaching 219.5 feet. The A350-1000 will be the longest of the family line with a length of 242.4 feet.
Internally, the A350 will sport a conventional airliner configuration. The flight deck is situated at the extreme front end of the vehicle and identified by the range of framed windows over the short, sloping nose assembly. Immediately aft of the flight deck is the passenger area which is spanned along either fuselage side by windows. Under the passenger area is the cargo hold. The freighter version of the A350 will naturally do away with the passenger seating elements to promote increased internal volume for additional hold space. Externally, the arrangement will be conventional, featuring two swept-back main wings at amidships and a traditional tail unit sporting a single vertical tail fin and dihedral horizontal planes. The undercarriage will be of the tricycle arrangement incorporating two main legs and a nose leg as standard.
All A350 forms will showcase a wingspan of 213 feet and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer construction throughout the wing assemblies and main fuselage. Power will be served through 2 x Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines which will be developed in two distinct forms either outputting between 74,000 to 83,000lbs of thrust or 97,000lbs of thrust. Maximum speed is listed at 587 miles per hour with a cruise speed in the vicinity of 560 miles per hour. Range under load will reach from 5,000 nautical miles (A350-900F) to 10,300 nautical miles (A350-900R) depending on the variant in question. All will feature a service ceiling of approximately 43,000 feet.
As with other modern Airbus airliner products, the A350 will field an all-glass digital cockpit with fly-by-wire controls. The instrument panel will be dominated by six LCD screens for both pilot and co-pilot. The data system will be fully updatable with changing technologies which should make for a cost-effective investment in the long-run.
The newly introduced A350-1000 (2018), currently Airbus's largest "twin" airliner, has been developed to minimize the crew workload and increase reaction times during emergency descents. It has a wingspan of 212.4 feet, an overall length of 242.1 feet, and a height of 56 feet. The cabin width measures 18.4 feet. Seating in a typical arrangement is 366 with a maximum of 440 possible. Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) is 676,700lb. Maximum operating speed if Mach 0.89 with a maximum cruising speed nearing Mach 0.85. Maximum range is 8,400 nautical miles.
November 2016 - The stretched A350-1000 recorded its first-flight on November 24th, 2016. The product is set to enter service before the end of 2017.
April 2017 - The A350-1000 is scheduled to be delivered to customer Qatar Airways in late-2017.
February 2018 - Airbus has debuted its A350-1000, billed the largest "twin", at Singapore Airshow 2018.
April 2018 - Qatar Airways has become the first carrier to receive the A350-1000 passenger airliner from Airbus.
June 2018 - Cathay Pacific became the second carrier to receive the A350-1000 product.
July 2018 - Two A350-1000 airframes have been delivered to customers Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific Airways.
July 2018 - The A350 has been certified for Chinese airspace, opening the door to sales to the Chinese market and its plethora of carriers.
August 2018 - Air China has become the first Chinese operator to field the A350.
September 2018 - Qatar has moved to have five of its existing A350-900s converted to the A350-1000 standard to expand its A350-1000 fleet.
June 2019 - Scandinavian-based SAS plans to begin operations with its A350 fleet, from Copenhagen to Chicago, sometime in January of 2020. Eight aircraft, with RR Trent XWB engines, are on order.
July 2019 - British Airways has taken delivery of its first A350 series jet.
November 2019 - Emirates has reworked its A380 order backlog to become A350 series jets instead.
December 2019 - A specially-modified Airbus A350-1000 has completed several automated take-off using the new Airbus Autonomous Taxi, Take-off, and Landing system.
October 2020 - Qatar Airways has taken delivery of three A350-1000 airliners, the first such acquisition by the company in eight months due to global supply and travel COVID complications.
Brazil; China; Colombia; Ethiopia; Finland; Hong Kong; India; Iran; Ireland; Italy; Kuwait; Libya; Malaysia; Portugal; Qatar; Russia; Singapore; South Korea; Thailand; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; Vietnam; Yemen
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
198.5 ft (60.50 m)
213.3 ft (65.00 m)
55.8 ft (17.00 m)
255,075 lb (115,700 kg)
573,202 lb (260,000 kg)
+318,127 lb (+144,300 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Airbus A350 production variant)
2 x Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofan engines delivering 79,000lb to 97,000lb thrust each.
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