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DECEMBER 10, 2004


Airbus has received approval from its shareholders, EADS and BAE Systems to begin making firm commercial offers to launch customers for two new members of its wide-body Family. The new sisterships to the A330s, called “A350” models, respond to the market demand foreseen by Airbus customers, many of whom have expressed their interest in these new models and contributed to their definition.

Due to enter service in the first half of 2010, the A350 models will complement the existing Airbus A330 and A340 product line. Offering a maximum of operational commonality with the current A330/A340 line – including Common Type Rating with the A330 -, they complement the current A330-200 and –300 line, offering extended range in these seating categories.

“The long range market is becoming more segmented in terms of size and range. Airbus has listened to its customers, who were interested in the medium size category with greater range to complement their current Airbus wide-body Families. As a result of this demand, we are now pleased to offer the A350, which, in addition to its intrinsic characteristics, is in the unique position of being a full member of a comprehensive airliner family, hence benefiting from an unmatched level of commonality”, said Airbus President and CEO Noël Forgeard on the occasion of the announcement. “We are now in the unique position to satisfy all airlines’ demands in the long range sector, from the 250 seater to the high capacity A380."

The market for aircraft in the 250-300 seat category is estimated at some 3,100 new aircraft over the next 20 years, of which Airbus expects to get at least 50 per cent.

The A350 will be offered in two versions. The A350-800 will typically seat 245 passengers in a long range three class configuration and have a range in excess of 8,600 nm / 15,900 km) providing ultra long range capability in this “medium size” seating category, and offering the lowest seat mile costs for this less dense long range market. Seating 285 passengers in a similar configuration, the A350-900 will have a range of more than 7,500 nm / 13,900 km, allowing operators to benefit from exceptionally low unit costs in the most competitive mainstream markets.

The A350 models will benefit from technologies, materials and manufacturing processes used on the A380, and will draw from composite wing design and Airbus manufacturing know-how. Although eligible for a choice of engines, the initial A350s will be powered by two new generation General Electric engines which, thanks to new technologies, will generate a double-digit improvement in fuel efficiency.

A leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive product line on the market, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.

Note to editors:


With the A330/A340 already commanding market leadership in the 240-380 seat category and the A380 dominating the market for larger aircraft, the A350-800 and A350-900 complement and enhance the flexibility offered across the Airbus long-range families.

The A350 will typically carry 245-285 passengers over distances of up to 8,600 nm (15,900 km), providing airlines with longer range versions of the A330, which already accounts for over 60% of this market sector and with which the A350 will share a single type rating for pilots. This means that pilots already qualified to fly the A330 will be able to switch to the A350 with no additional training. As the same commonality benefits also apply to maintenance and cabin crews, airlines can easily minimise crew costs and maximise operational flexibility.

The A350-800 offers airlines a range of up to 8,600 nm (15,900 km) in a three-class, 245 seat layout and under-floor space for six 96 inch x 125 inch (244 centimetre x 317 centimetre) cargo pallets (after provision for passenger baggage). In the congested airspace environment the A350-800 is optimised to become the smallest economically viable aircraft for long-range commercial operations. The extra revenue generation it offers provides operators with more value than the marginally lower trip cost of a smaller capacity type.

The A350-900 offers a range of up to 7,500 nm (13,900 km) with 285 seats in a three-class configuration. The A350-900 has the lowest seat-mile cost of any like-sized airliner, making it attractive to A330-200 operators, who can easily add the higher capacity aircraft to their fleet and to airlines seeking a substantially more economic replacement for heavier, older twin aisle aircraft. The A350-900 is suitable on routes between all major European and US cities, between all major city pairs within the Asia/Pacific region and between emerging Middle East hubs and all major European, African and many Asian cities.

These performance capabilities will be achieved thanks to the introduction of substantial technical and manufacturing innovations, notably those developed and implemented on the A380. Airbus’ proven expertise in the development and application of composites and innovative new materials will be used to incorporate a high percentage of lightweight structural materials, such as Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) and aluminium-lithium alloys. For example, the A350 wing will be largely manufactured using CFRP. Furthermore, the A350 wing will deliver exceptional low and high-speed efficiency thanks to cutting-edge design and manufacturing techniques and the integration of ‘droop nose’ technology from the A380.

Improved manufacturing and assembly techniques, pioneered on other aircraft in the Airbus Family, such as the A318 and the A380, will provide additional weight reduction, while adding structural durability and decreasing maintenance costs. The A350 will follow the same production philosophy as the rest of the Airbus Family, with final assembly taking place in Toulouse. It will, therefore, benefit from techniques already successfully introduced on all other Airbus aircraft.

The A350 will further enhance Airbus’ reputation for providing the most comfortable long-range cabins in the sky, featuring solid-state lighting technology to enable maximum customisation and passenger comfort, and full compatibility with the latest generation In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems. Cabin services will be controlled through the unique Airbus Cabin Intercommunication Data System (CIDS). Both versions of the aircraft may be fitted with spacious crew rest facilities for up to two pilots and eight cabin crew, facilities which have already proved successful on A340-500/-600 aircraft currently in service.

The launch engines for the A350 will be the new generation General Electric GEnx 72A1. Paired with the new nacelle and using a pylon design initially developed for the A380, the A350 will deliver the exceptional level of fuel economy necessary for efficient medium-capacity long-range operation.

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Star Airlines May Delay Plane Orders To Hear More About Airbus A350

Aviation Daily

Star Airlines May Delay Plane Orders To Hear More About Airbus A350

By Steven Lott

12/15/2004 12:16:19 PM

The 15 Star Alliance member carriers decided to move ahead with a complete analysis and comparison of the Boeing 7E7 and Airbus A350, which could be seen as a setback for Boeing, as several airlines may delay potential orders while waiting for the results of the study.

The first two significant orders already came from Star as All Nippon Airways and partner Air New Zealand placed separate orders.

However, during their chief executive board meeting in Thailand over the weekend, the CEOs decided they want a comprehensive and comparative review of the 7E7 and A350 as part of their strategy to cooperate and set a single standard of aircraft for all members.

The DAILY interviewed several Star airline leaders in Bangkok to gauge their interest in the new planes.

"We have heard from Boeing, but we didn't have any detailed information on the A350," said Asiana President C.B. Park.

He noted that Boeing has some "good innovations" to increase efficiency and comfort. However, with the green light last week to start selling the A350, Park wants details on that aircraft.

The Star board decided to have "experts" compare the two models and report back to the CEOs. Their next meetings are tentatively planned in June and December 2005.

"Many are waiting for the comparison," he said.

While Asiana does not expect to make a decision for some time, Polish LOT Airlines has been in Boeing's sights for more than a year.

LOT Polish Airlines said a year ago that they were looking at a fleet order before 2006, when some of the airline's 767 leases expire (DAILY, Oct. 28, 2003).

CEO Marek Grabarek told The DAILY that a decision could come as soon as the airline's supervisory meeting Dec. 22, although he cautioned that "we are not in a hurry." Grabarek believes the airline has three choices -- buy the A330, buy the 7E7 or stick with 767.

However, there is now a new option with A350, "which is something we may want to consider," he said. The decision may take several more weeks beyond the Dec. 22 meeting.

Singapore Airlines also expressed some interest in the A350 after deciding not to order the 7E7 over the summer (DAILY, Aug. 26).

CEO Chew Choon Seng said his analysis of the 7E7 "failed to yield a return on investment that would be sufficient for us to create economic value and did not meet the cost of capital."

Instead, the airline ordered Boeing 777-300s, which Chew admitted is "a bit too big to have a sufficient scale of frequencies to some of the nearer points that we would like to serve."

The SIA CEO is interested in hearing more about the A350, as he has yet to hear the plane's proposed 'operating characteristics.'

The A350 would be used on similar routes and for similar missions as the 7E7, he said. At the end of the day, "the manufacturer that can best help us make a viable economic operation will be the one who gets the order."

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LONDON -- Airbus' (ABI.YY) long-range A350-800 airliner - which was formally given the go-ahead last week - will have a list price of $153.5 million, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The A350-900, which would carry 285 passengers, will have a list price of $170 million, the spokesman told reporters. The A350-800 will carry 245 passengers.

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Airbus gears new A350 for the future

Steve Creedy

April 15, 2005

EUROPEAN manufacturer Airbus will "future proof" its new A350 aircraft with landing gear that can handle heavier designs that may be demanded by airlines after its introduction in 2010.

Following the maxim that airlines always want more later, the gear will be designed to allow the plane maker to increase the weight of the aircraft without running into problems with runway loading.

"This is clearly designed as a platform for growth - either capacity, range or eventually both," Airbus A330-A340 product marketing manager Alan Pardoe said in Sydney yesterday.

The gear decision is one of several recent innovations Airbus has added to its A350 design as it continues to firm up the plane's design with airlines. Another is a decision to locate the flight crew rest area below the cockpit and behind the security door.

Airbus is aiming its long-range derivative of the successful A330 family squarely at Boeing's attempts to dominate the 250-to-300-seat market with its 787 "Dreamliner".

And while the Europeans may have launched their aircraft later than the US plane, they believe this will ultimately give them the upper hand.

"We do have ... the benefit of seeing what the other guy has been up to because they were out of the traps ahead of us," Mr Pardoe said. "So we have a very clear target, as always, of doing better."

Airbus believes its A350-800 version will have about 10 per cent more seat capacity than the equivalent 787 and about 600 nautical miles more range.

It has also been working hard to demonstrate lower fuel burn per seat, lower maintenance costs per seat and, ultimately, lower cash costs per seat.

"Equally we've been working hard to develop a cabin that will certainly be as attractive and, we would like to believe, more attractive than our competitor's offering," Mr Pardoe said.

Other innovations include a re-engineered aft fuselage which means the rear pressure bulkhead has been pushed back several hundred millimetres to relocate the entry to the cabin crew rest area and add galley volume.

"The snowball effect of all of that on a 350-800 is about 12 more seats compared to an equivalent 330-200," Mr Pardoe said.

The flight deck will be a common type rating with the A330 but will see the end of cathode ray tubes and will include innovations such as dual Integrated Shipboard Information System displays and a vertical component to the navigation display.

Airbus believes new 72,000lb thrust General Electric GEnx engines will be 15 per cent more efficient than the company's current engines.

New pylons and nacelles have been designed to accept other engine types should manufacturers decide to produce them.

Improved low-speed aerodynamics using the A380's distinctive "droop nosed slat" are expected to deliver an improved take-off weight for essentially the same wing area.

Airframe maintenance costs are expected to be at least 15 per cent lower and the company is trying to improve on that figure. About half of that improvement will come from greater maintenance intervals and the rest from systems and reliability improvements.

Like the heavily composite 787, advanced materials will play a big role. The A350 will feature carbon-fibre wing and keel beams with extensive use of lightweight aluminium-lithium in the fuselage shell and cross beams.

The skin will use larger panels joined by laser welding in the lower fuselage to radically reduce the number of joints, making it more durable and eliminating areas susceptible to corrosion.

But Airbus engineers have decided against extending the use of composites, which will make up about 37 per cent of the plane, into the fuselage shell.

"We cannot see how a composite fuselage delivers you the kind of durability that the airlines need," Mr Pardoe said, adding that the metallic skin allowed quicker, simpler repairs.

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"All-new" A350-800 could take to the skies in mid-2010 and the dash 900 at the end of 2010, head of A330/A340/A350 Program Olivier Andries said.

"Thus the A350 will be delivered within two years of the 787-8 and before the 787-9 EIS."

He conceded that Airbus's strategic positioning of the aircraft is "10% more seat capacity over our competitor [the 787], which reflects on the cost side of the equation and on the revenue side of the equation."

He refused to comment on the price of the new model but said breakeven of the program will be reached at "around 400 to 500 aircraft, which is typical for a long-range program."

He said Airbus froze the configuration of the A350 about a month ago, although it continues to work on it, and reemphasized several times that "the A350 is not a substitute for our current A330 but an addition to our long-range family.

It is not a derivative from the A330. We have gone very far in introducing new elements. We have kept the same type rating and the external shape and dimension, except for the dash 900 which is a bit longer."

The emphasis on the "new" nature of the A350 cannot be viewed independently from Airbus's confirmation that it has applied to four governments--the UK, Spain, France and Germany--for so-called development aid. The launch aid can amount to up to 33% of development costs, which CCO John Leahy values at around $5.5 billion.

Airbus's determination to pursue government-sponsored launch aid loans will cause new tensions between the US and Europe and bring the possibility of a World Trade Organization case back on the agenda.

by Cathy Buyck

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By Carol Matlack and Stanley Holmes

Airbus' A350 Gets a Lift

The European planemaker's jet wins its first major order from Qatar at the Paris Air Show. But Boeing's rival 787 has a big lead in sales

For the aerospace event's opening day at least, it was the Paris Airbus Show. As the company's double-decker A380 megaplane flew graceful loops over the Le Bourget airfield on June 13, Airbus announced a crucial order from Qatar Airways for up to 60 of its new midsize A350 aircraft

The deal, worth about $10.6 billion, marks the first major order for the jet that the European planemaker is promoting to counter archrival Boeing's (BA ) new fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner. And Airbus Commercial Director John Leahy promises more are on the way: "We're sitting at 90 [A350 orders] right now, and it's only the first day of the air show. Having 100 by the end of this week is really in the bag," he said.

TOUGH DECISION. The Qatar order is a big boost to Airbus, which has been on the defensive this year as Boeing pulled ahead in new orders for the first time since 2000 (see BW Online, 6/14/05, "Why Airbus is Losing Altitude"). Most worrisome for Airbus, until Qatar's order, the Boeing 787 had won every major competition against the A350.

"The decision was very hard to make as both aircraft types showed very strong advantages in different areas," Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said in announcing the deal. Now Airbus is to deliver the A350 planes to Qatar from 2010 to 2015, supplementing and eventually replacing the carrier's existing fleet of Airbus A330 aircraft, Al Baker added.

As a consolation to Boeing, Qatar will buy at least 20 of the U.S. planemaker's 777 widebodies, in a deal worth about $4.6 billion. Deliveries will begin in 2007 and continue through 2010, replacing most of Qatar's four-engine Airbus A340s.

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD. Before the air show, Airbus's only A350 deals were an order for 10 planes by Air Europa, a small Spanish carrier, and a pledge by USAirways and America West (AWA ) to order 20 aircraft in exchange for a $250 million loan from Airbus to the two carriers as they prepare to merge. Boeing's 787 has logged 266 orders and commitments, including orders from Northwest Airlines (NWAC ), Air Canada, and Air India -- all of which were heavily courted by Airbus.

To lure customers, Airbus went back to the drawing board on the A350, which was originally meant as a modest upgrade of the existing A330. As currently planned, the A350 will have a newly designed wing made of lightweight composite materials and a fuselage made primarily of next-generation aluminum-lithium alloys.

By contrast, about 50% of the 787 will be made from lightweight composites, and Boeing officials say that should continue to give them the upper hand. Both the A350 and the 787 feature new, fuel-efficient engines. "The A350 is good enough to [render] obsolete the A330 and some [Airbus widebody] A340s -- but falls short of the breakthrough technology of the 787," said Randy Baesler, Boeing's vice-president for marketing.

PROMISING MORE ORDERS. Another question hanging over the A350 concerns the financing of the plane, which Airbus says could cost $5.5 billion to develop. As with past aircraft models, Airbus has said it plans to seek loans from European governments to cover up to one-third of development costs. But those loans are the focus of a heated trade dispute that has prompted the U.S. to complain to the World Trade Organization (see BW Online, 6/13/05, "Another Turbulent Paris Air Show").

Airbus parent European Aeronautics Defence & Space Co. has said it might forego future loans as part of the dispute's settlement. Noël Forgeard, Airbus' longtime chief executive who is about to become co-CEO of EADS, said at a press briefing on June 13 the A350 would be built even if government loans were not available.

With Airbus and Boeing both projecting a worldwide market for 3,500 midsize jets over the next 20 years, the competition between the 787 and A350 is only beginning. And Airbus supersalesman Leahy, who was sidelined by illness for more than a month this spring, is clearly back in fighting trim. He promises more A350 orders not only during the show, but also during the next few weeks. He told BusinessWeek Online in an interview: "I wouldn't be surprised to see 200 orders by yearend."


Plane Seats List Price Flight Range

Airbus A350-800 253 $160 million Up to 8,800 nautical miles

Boeing 787-800 223 $120 million Up to 8,300 nautical miles

Copyright 2005, by The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. All rights reserved.

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Plane Seats List Price Flight Range

Airbus A350-800 253 $160 million Up to 8,800 nautical miles

Boeing 787-800 223 $120 million Up to 8,300 nautical miles

So that would mean the Airbus is 13.5% more plane with 6% more range for the bargain price of 33% more! ohmy.gif I guess Airbus isn't the great deal it used to be! cool.gif

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