The A350 XWB is Airbus’ next-generation solution for the 250–400-seat jetliner market. With the aircraft’s final assembly starting in Toulouse on 5 April 2012, the A350 XWB brings together the very latest in aerodynamics, design and advanced technologies to provide a 25 percent step-change in fuel efficiency compared to its current long-range competitors. The A350 XWB aircraft family concept ensures optimal efficiency through the aircraft’s commonality in engines, systems and spare parts, while also enabling pilots to fly all three versions with a single type rating. Airbus’ A350 XWB family consists of three versions (the A350-800, -900 and -1000) – each with flight ranges that give them a global reach.
Designed for a higher performance
Key design features are driving the A350 XWB’s improvement in economic efficiency. Over 70 percent of its weight-efficient airframe is made from advanced materials combining composites (53 percent), titanium and advanced aluminium alloys. The A350 XWB’s innovative all-new Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) fuselage results in lower fuel burn as well as easier maintenance. The application of state-of-the-art aerodynamics will make the aircraft faster, more efficient and quieter, especially as a result of its advanced wing design. Contributing to this performance are the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines that power the A350 XWB family, with the lowest fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
A350 XWB streamlined production
The improved design is also apparent in the programme’s industrial approach, represented by the new eco-efficient Final Assembly Line constructed in Toulouse. The majority of processes have been simplified to accelerate production times and attain a peak output of ten aircraft per month, reducing the time from start of final assembly to aircraft delivery by 30 percent. A reduction in parts has also been accompanied by a change in the customisation of the aircraft’s interior, progressing from a tailor-made cabin to an industrialised cabin concept. The new system is based on a flexible platform which the airline customises by choosing from an extensive catalogue of ‘plug-and-play’ modular solutions. With the first flight planned for 2013, followed by a flight test campaign lasting 12 months, Airbus is targeting first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways during the first half of 2014.
A350 XWB IN FIGURES
617 A350 XWB orders (as of February 2013). 22 The number of Focus Groups established with customers during the A350 XWB design phase. 74,000m2 Extension of Airbus’ new A350 XWB Final Assembly Line completed in Toulouse. 6,425 The number of twin-aisle, long-range aircraft which Airbus predicts will be sold over the next two decades. 97,000 lb. of thrust for the A350-1000 This enhanced performance makes the Trent XWB the most powerful engine ever developed for an Airbus aircraft.