Tag Archives: A350
Sources within Airbus are reporting that their newest plane, the A350 is ready for its first flight. After having successfully completed engine tests yesterday, sources say that the first flight should take place this Friday. Subject to weather the flight should take place around 1000 Friday morning.
The A350 is Airbus’ answer to Boeing’s 787 and 777. Airbus expects to start delivery of the A350 next year.
- Airbus Starts the A350 Line
- Airbus Removes Lithium-ion Batteries From the A350
- Look at Those Winglets
Airbus has moved their first flying A350 into ground testing. Airbus is still a ways off from first flight and flight testing, easily shown by the lack of engines on the Airbus provided pictures. Looking at the pictures the thing that amazes me are those winglets. They look amazing.
Photos courtesy of Airbus and FlightGlobal
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Aviation Week, is reporting that Lufthansa is looking at acquire 6 777-300’s for subsidiary Swiss Air.
While the order if it happens would be small, six air frames, it would mark a shift from Airbus to Boeing. Currently the Lufthansa Group operates only 4 772ERS and they were acquired in a merger. Lufthansa has shown little interest in Boeing planes outside of a token order of 15 Boeing 747-8is. Between Swiss, Lufthansa, Austrian, and Brussels (all part of the the Lufthansa group) the current fleet plan after retirements is 42 Boeing aircraft, 19 747-400’s 15 747-8is, 4 767’s and 4 772ers. This number is really smaller at the 15 748’s will be replacing the 744s, so it is closer to 25 Boeing frames compared with a current fleet of around 480 frames. So less than 10% of the Lufthansa group’s fleet is made by Boeing.
Aviation week cites available slots as the reason for the Boeing order. That’s believable as the the A350, the closest Airbus equivalent to the 773 will not be online for several years. These 773s will replace Swiss’ A340 fleet. The A340-300 that Swiss currently operates has largely been replaced by the A330-300, basically a twin engine variant of the A340-300. The cost of moving to two engines resulted in shorter range. So, while Swiss was able to replace their Trans-Atlantic fleet with the A330s, they were not able to do so on their Asia flights. The quest for greater efficiency and lower operating costs has led Lufthansa to at least contemplate ordering 777-300s.
One added benefit for Lufthansa would be preferential pricing from Boeing. Boeing would love to book another order from a long time Airbus customer. Also Lufthansa might be able to leverage future Airbus orders.
Airbus announced today that they were removing lithium-ion batteries from the A350. This is in direct response to the problems Boeing has been having with the 787 for the past couple of months. Recently LOT canceled its 787 schedule through October suggesting that the plane will be out of service for sometime. All other carriers seems to canceling service on a monthly basis with most flights canceled through the end of March. The A350 is Airbus’ composite aircraft and is set for its first flight in Q4 2012.
Today marked the start of Airbus’ A350 production line, with the static test plane. Before I talk too much about the plane itself. I wanted to talk a little about the Airbus v. Boeing debate and the Airbus product line generally. Much virtual ink is spilled about the merits of Airbus v. Boeing aircraft. This is largely a myth, while the companies do compete generally, their products do not compete specifically. What I mean by this is that if you put the two lines next to each other, there are no true equivalent products on seat capacity. For any given seat capacity the buyer wants, there is only product that perfectly fits that need.The same is true for the A350
The A350 is Airbus’ response to the 787, except not really. The A350 relies more on carbon fiber than their previous offerings, but the expected capacity is closer to the 777 then the 787 or A330. Currently there are 561 orders for this plane which is very good. However, recently orders have tailed off. Since 2010 there have only been 53 orders for the aircraft, which shows that that maybe this plane does not have a long term strategy.
Both Boeing and Airbus have made extraordinary promises when it comes to performance not just for their initial frames but for the stretched models of the 787 and 350. It will be interesting to see in the coming years if they can keep those promises.