- The Airbus A350-1000 entered service earlier this year with Qatar Airways.
- It’s the latest in a new generation of fuel-efficient, carbon composite airliners to launch in recent years.
- The A350-1000 is seen as a rival for Boeing 777-300ER and a replacement for the Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
The Airbus A350-1000 entered service with Qatar Airways in February. It is the latest in a new generation of the fuel-efficient, carbon-composite, wide-body airliners to launch in recent years.
With four-engine jumbo jets like the Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380 quickly losing favour with airlines, smaller, more efficient twin-engine widebodies have taken their place as the industry’s workhorse long-haul jets. In fact, Virgin Atlantic is expected to replace its 747-400s with a fleet of A350-1000s over the next few years.
Thus far, the Boeing 777 is the most successful of the twin-engine wide-bodies with 1,988 sold since its debut in 1994. Launched in 2002, the Boeing 777-300ER is, by far, the most popular version of the twin-jet and accounts for about 42% of the plane’s sales total.
Airbus has 890 orders for the A350; 168 of which are for the Dash 1000.
Until the A350-1000’s arrival, Airbus didn’t really have a true rival for the 777-300ER. The A330-300 had the size, but not quite the range while the quad-engine A340-600 had the range and the capacity, but was far less efficient.
In fact, Qatar is actually operating the A350-1000 alongside its existing fleet of 777-300ERs.
“The A350-1000 is performing very well in our fleet,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said to a roundtable of reporters at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow in July. “Actually, it’s performing better than what we envisaged.”
According to Airbus, the A350 is capable of delivering 25% better fuel efficiency and a 25% unit costs compared to previous generation aircraft like the 777.
“Yes, they are right,” Al Baker said regarding Airbus’s efficiency claims. “And this is why Boeing has launched the 777X to compete against the fuel efficiency of the Airbus A350-1000.”
Qatar Airways also has orders in place for 60 of Boeing next-generation 777X airliners that are expected to enter service in 2020.
The Doha, Qatar-based airline was also the launch customer of the smaller A350-900 back in 2014.
At the Farnborough Air Show, Airbus brought along an A350-1000 prototype for flight demonstrations while Qatar Airways showed off one of its Dash 1000s for guests and journalists.
Here’s a closer look at the new Airbus A350-1000:
Airbus brought two A350-1000s to the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow. One for flight displays and…
…The other, belonging to launch customer Qatar Airways, to serve as a static display.
The first A350-1000 entered service with Qatar in February.
The show plane is Qatar’s second A350-1000 and first flew in May.
The A350-1000 is 242 feet and one inch long, 19 feet seven inches wide with a wing space of 212 feet five inches.
Apart from being 23 feet longer than the little brother A350-900, the Dash 1000 can be identified by its more robust triple axle main landing gears.
It’s powered by a pair of massive Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines; each producing as much as 97,000 pounds of thrust.
According to Airbus, A350-1000 has a range of up to 9,667 miles.
Let’s step inside.
Qatar’s A350s are split into two cabins; business and economy.
At the front of the cabin are 46 private business class suites, called the QSuite.
Each suite is equipped with a 21.5-inch entertainment screen and allows access to 4,000 movies, TV shows, and music channels.
There’s also a video feed from a camera located on the plane’s rudder.
Each suite is also equipped with a seat that transforms into a bed at the touch of a button.
Here are those buttons.
The power operated window shades are a nice touch.
The suites along the outside edge of the cabin are fairly traditional in their setup.
However, the suite in the center of the cabin are unique in that they are configurable.
By configurable, I mean the dividers separating the suites can be lowered to create a communal setting for business meetings or…
…To share a nice meal.
Here’s a Qatar Airways press photo with an overhead view of the QSuite.
Here, two of the suites are linked and set up for sleep.
Walk past the QSuites and you’ll come up on the A350-1000s economy cabin with 281 seats.
There are nine seats per row in a 3-3-3 configuration.
Each seat boasts 31-32 inches of seat pitch. Also, holy mood lighting Batman!
Each seat is also equipped with an entertainment screen, power plug, and USB plug.
In total, Qatar’s A350-1000s have room for 327 passengers. In an all-economy layout, the A350-1000 can fly up to 440 people.
Thus far the Airbus has 168 orders for the A350-1000.
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