After years of design, testing, set-backs to overcome and a few last-minute weather delays, Saturday was the day aviation saw…
The Future of the A350 WXB
This wide-bodied jet airliner, the A350 XWB, will finally be taking the skies for commercial flights with Qatar airways. Qatar has ordered 80 of these aircraft with one already delivered on the Dec. 23rd 2014. This airline has the most orders of the A350 after Singapore Airlines with 70, and Etihad Airways with 62 orders.
The future looks bright for the aircraft with a total of 778 orders to this date. It is said that the A350 will be replacing a lot of airlines older generation fleet. Delta had already said that their A350-900s aircraft will be replacing the older Boeing 747-400 and 767 aircraft starting in 2017 and 2019. This is mostly down to efficiency, with the A350 having 25 percent lower fuel consumption. This better efficiency comes to saving more money compared to the older generation aircraft. This is why the A350 will be replacing a lot of older aircraft.
After the first delivery of the A350 to Qatar Airways, rumours spread about Airbus that there may be a even more stretched version of the aircraft, the A350-1100. The -1100 stretched version would be made to seat 400 passengers. Just like the Boeing 787-10, the A350-1100 would have to sacrifice some of its range because of the current Trent XWB engines, which would need improvements to the fuel consumption. There is an alternate option to this, which is Rolls Royce new Advance engine. These new Advance engines would have a 5 per cent less fuel burn over the current Trent XWB. These are also said to be used on the A380neo.
So far, more than 40 customers have ordered the Airbus A350 aircraft. Only one aircraft was delivered in 2014, for Qatar Airways. From 2015 and onwards, all these customers are set to have their A350 aircraft delivered. For some, this can mean 2020 and onwards, but most customers that have ordered to this date this receive their aircraft before then. Some of the next deliveries of A350 aircraft in 2015 include Vietnam Airlines, TAM Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Finnair. Then these will continue through to big orders in 2016, including Etihad Airways and Cathay Pacific, with 62 and 46 orders.
For Finnair, their first A350 XWB is already taking shape in the final assembly line in Toulouse, France. Finnair will be the first European Airline to fly the A350, being the third operator in the world after Vietnam Airlines.
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