Airbus, the European manufacturer of the existing A350-900ULR, a variant of flagship A350 XWB that already caters to the ultra-long-haul market, is in final talks with multiple airline customers ahead of a formal launch of the A350-1000ULR, an ultra-long-range variant of the largest member of the A350 XWB family, Aviation Analyst can exclusively reveal.
Airbus’ commitment to building an ultra-long-range ‘family’ follows extensive talks with a variety of airline customers, many of whom have shown interest in potentially ordering, or converting existing A350 orders to an A350-1000ULR that will be able to fly further, and heavier than the existing A350-900ULR — with, crucially: more passengers. The A350-1000ULR will also take on Boeing’s 777X, and Airbus intend to have the aircraft available to airline customers before the 777X is able to gain a significant hold of the extreme end of the long-haul market.
Alan Joyce, the Qantas CEO, put Airbus and Boeing to the test by asking the two manufacturers to develop an aircraft capable of flying for 21-hours, such as between London and Sydney. The Australian flag carrier is considering both the Airbus A350-1000ULR (Ultra Long Range) and the Boeing 777-8, and the decision will be announced in quarter-four of 2019, Joyce recently confirmed. Qantas has already eliminated the prospect of ordering the existing A350-900ULR, citing lower passenger capacity.
The existing A350-900ULR doesn’t require any additional fuel tanks over the standard A350-900 and instead uses technology to tap into additional space already available in the existing tanks to carry an extra 6,340 gallons of fuel. For the A350-1000ULR, in addition to carrying the extra fuel, increased maximum take-off weight and increased payload capabilities (in order to reduce having to establish costly payload restrictions on routes with proven strong demand such as the ‘Kangaroo route’ to Australia) are crucial.
Please note there is still no formal announcement or news with Airbus itself but I think, A350-1000URL will be a great competitor with B777X.
What do you guys think?
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Credits: Aviation Analyst.