31 October 2013
“A bigger stretch of the A350 is in a pre-concept phase. We can certainly do it” Didier Evrard. “It's a question of market, of priorities”
Airbus is looking at developing an even larger version of its new A350 airliner than the stretched version that it aims to have in service in 2017, officials at the European aircraft manufacturer said last week.
Airbus would be responding to strong demand from airlines for fuel-efficient, twin-engine, wide-body planes as they try to maximize their revenue yield by carrying more passengers on single flights, hence growing orders for Boeing's new 787 jetliner and the Airbus A350.
Developing a longer model than the 350-seat A350-1000 that Airbus is planning to bring into service in 2017 is possible, Didier Evrard, head of the A350 program, told journalists.
"It's in a pre-concept phase," Mr. Evrard said. "We can certainly do it; it's a question of market, of priorities, and we will continue to listen to our customers about what's best for them."
Upgrading the A350 with a higher-capacity model could put further pressure on U.S. rival Boeing, which is expected to announce a decision to go ahead with an extended version of its 777-700ER in the coming weeks. The Boeing will be a response to Airbus's decision in 2011 to develop an upgraded version of the A350-1000, said Sophie Pendaries, head of product marketing at Airbus.
Airbus "isn't in a hurry" to develop more versions of the plane as it has 756 A350s in its order backlog for a plane that is undergoing flight testing before Airbus starts deliveries to customers next year, Mr. Evrard said.
Based on the article “Airbus Mulls an Extra Stretch for A350 Jetliner” published in The Wall Street Journal