The Boeing 787 was rolled out in July 2007 at Boeing’s Everett factory, near Seattle. The first aircraft was delivered to ANA in 2011, over three years late. There were three variants originally announced, the 787-3. 787-8, and the 787-9. Boeing later announced the 787-10.
The Airbus A350 was originally envisioned as a successor to the A330, with the same cross section and improved engines, aerodynamics, and systems along with a tweaks to the rest of the aircraft. The most notable was that the A350 was to be the first Airbus aircraft built with composite materials. Airbus announced the A350-900 and the A350-1000 at the 2006 Farnborough airshow after agreeing to a new clean sheet design and called the new aircraft the A350 XWB (extra wide body).
when responding to the thread, please use these and only these names to allow a common understanding of this discussion
767-300 = 763
777-200ER = 77E
777-300ER = 77W
777-8 = 778
787-3 = 783
787-8 = 788
787-9 = 789
787-10 = 78J
A350-900 = A359
A350-900 ULR = A359 ULR
A350-1000 = A35K
A350-1100 = A35L*
LH = Long Haul
ULH = Ultra Long Haul
J = Business
W = Premium Economy
Y+ = Economy Plus, Comfort, Extra, ect.
Y = Economy
787 vs. A350
Here is why the 787 is in essence, not an A350 competitor. Let’s take United Airlines for example. Their 763 in their most dense (Polaris Low J, 0 W, High Y) which will be the standard configuration after Polaris refits, besides the 8 or so frames going to the low density config (Polaris High J, High W, High Y+, Low Y). Those aircraft hold 214 passengers. The 788 config for United, albeit with more Y+, holds 219 passengers, a difference of only 5 passengers.
The 788 is a shrink of the 789, and the 789 is not a stretch of the 788. The 788 can not fly as far although being smaller with the same fuel tanks/engines since it has a lower MTOW due to not as much structural support. This saves money when building the aircraft as it is not super economical to fly the 788 on ULH flights. The A350-800 was supposed to compete with this aircraft, however it was scrapped after a lack of orders.
Key Idea: The 788 is positioned as a smaller wide body to replace the 763 that can also fly to Asia.
The 789 is the longest range 787. It is also the most popular variant. The 789 has a max seating capacity of 406 seats and a max exit row config of 420 seats. I could not find a easily accessible max seating capacity for the A359, but the max exit row config is 440 seats. However, I can assure you that the A359 is bigger than the 789. The A359 is a well positioned 77E replacement, the 789 is just not big enough to maintain capacity.
The A359 can carry a payload farther. However, the 789 can carry the same payload about 10% more efficiently.
Key Idea: The A359 is a great 77E replacement, while the 789 is a great if you need less capacity, or if you just want a plane smaller than the 772.
The A35K is a huge plane designed to compete with the 77W. It has a great niche in the market, as it is simply put a better plane than the 77W.
Key Idea: until the 778 rolls around, the A35K is a great competitor to the 77W.
The 78J also has it’s own niche. It has a short range compared to the other Boeing’s/Airbii (yes, that is how I make an Airbus plural)
CASM is Cost per Available Seat Mile. The 78J’s CASM is out of this world incredibly amazing. This is a great aircraft for TATL ops. If this aircraft is used properly, it will be a big moneymaker.
Key Idea: 78J is a great aircraft, and not a competitor to the A35K since it really efficient on ~8-10 hour flights, however, it cannot operate from US-Asia economically. That is an A35K strength, it can fly farther and is slightly bigger than the 78J
The best modern wide body fleet for an airline is a mix of 787 and A350. They compliment each other, the aircraft are competitors and that is ok. A fleet will work really well together with a mix of both.