Airbus A350 XWB ( XWB stands for eXtra Wide Body ), is a much talked about aircraft from the French aircraft manufacturer. Airbus launched the project in 2005 but ever since the development has gone through much turmoil which resulted in one delay after another, and with the rise of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner series and its huge popularity with many major airlines worldwide, the competition became tough like never before. These was a time when Airbus was loosing its existing customers to the 787 Dreamliner and speculations about the A350 project getting dropped also started making rounds.
This was past. Now lets talk about the present, Airbus A350 has gone through major design upgrades in the last 2 years and what stands today, i.e. the Airbus A350 XWB specially in its Airbus A350 900 Avatar is a terrific specimen of up to date design, modern construction, balance in performance and economy and practical operation. In fact the price, passenger capacity, range and economy aspects are so strong in the A350 900, that the market has started pressurizing Boeing to make a Dreamliner 787 10X as there are no equals to the A350 900 in the existing 787 Dreamliner range.
In 2007 Airbus launched the new design details for the A350 in front of around 100 representatives from the biggest Airlines worldwide who could be prospective customers. The Airbus A350 900 is designed to accommodate 285 passengers in 3 class configuration, the wider cabin design allows for uniform with almost throughout the fuselage – from door one to door four, thus permitting wider and more comfortable seats. The A350 seats 8 in a row in a 2-4-2 configuration, with single seat width of 17.7 inches which is 0.5 inches wider than the 787 Dreamliner seats. The newly designed A350 will have cabin designs by BMW, and Airbus also promises to provide a better cabin atmosphere with humidity controlled to 16 % during flight cruise.
A350 900 uses highly advanced and newly designed GEnx Jet Engines by GE, these new ranges of engines promises to be quieter and more fuel efficient than the competition also available as an option will be the newest Rolls Royce Trent 1711 engines. Airbus A350 900 XWB will operate with two engines giving it a max non-stop travel range of 7,500 Nautical Miles, which is very close to the current Super Jumbos, thus qualifying the A350 900 to ferry between almost every long distance popular airports internationally. Also on operational front, the pilots used to A330 or the A380 will be readily able to fly the A350 without any additional training as it follows the same fly by wire mechanism to fly.
On the economy and construction front, the A350 900 XWB promises to be 30 % more efficient on fuel than the existing competition and 6 % more efficient than the 787 Dreamliner – though only time will prove that. A350 XWB will be built with the most modern methods within the facilities that currently produce the A330 and the A340. Airbus A350 uses 52% composites (carbon fiber reinforced materials), 20% Aluminum, 14% Titanium and 14% Steel and other materials for its entire construction which is kind of similar to the composition of the 787 Dreamliner.
Airbus forecasts a market for aircraft like the A350 XWB 900 to be 3300 in total for the next 20 years, amongst which Airbus expects the A350 to capture 50%. Though they may sound over optimistic but the terrific passenger capacity and range combination on the Airbus A350 900 may well eventually turn out to be the winner, so the Dreamliner better watch out. First flight for the A350 is scheduled for 2012 and deliveries will start from 2013.