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BAE Systems has formally launched the new Airbus A350 long-range aircraft featuring the new Genx Trent engine from Rolls-Royce, whilst Boeing issued a statement reiterating its displeasure with government backed launch aid.
Following approval by its shareholders, EADS and BAE Systems, Airbus has formally launched the new passenger long-range A350 aircraft, for which it has already received 140 firm order commitments from nine world-renowned customers.
Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert, emphasizes the significance of the industrial launch of the A350, saying: “The A350 pursues the success story of the earlier Airbus types in an impressive manner by continuing to set the highest standards in term of aircraft design and innovation for the benefit of customers and operators. This new aircraft enlarges the Airbus Family and gives us the ability to respond to all long-range market needs, with the A380 for hub to hub, the A340 for the ultra long-range, and the A330 and now the new A350 for medium to very long-ranges, while offering unequalled operational efficiency and passenger comfort”.
The A350 will be produced and assembled at the same facilities as the A330 and the A340, with however, additional risk-sharing partners and associates in China, Russia and other countries around the world. The market for aircraft in this size category is estimated at 3,300, including freighters, over the next 20 years, of which Airbus expects to obtain half.
BAE Systems chief executive Mike Turner has also welcomed the industrial launch of the Airbus A350 airliner, as a development which will help preserve and protect high-value design and manufacturing expertise in the United Kingdom.
He comments: “The launch of the A350 is a significant milestone for the European aerospace industry. With 140 firm orders already secured, it will help to ensure that our investment in Airbus continues to deliver a strong and positive return for BAE Systems shareholders and, with the support of the UK Government, safeguard the UK’s involvement at the forefront of aerospace design and technology.”
Planned to enter service in 2010, the A350 Family will initially include two members. The A350-800 will carry 253 passengers in a standard three-class configuration up to 8,800nm/16,300km. Its larger sister, the A350-900, will accommodate as many as 300 passengers in a comparable three-class layout up to 7,500nm/13,900km. These new aircraft share the technologically advanced innovations of the A380 and are also endowed with the latest technologies, while benefiting from the Airbus family commonality.
The A350 will initially be powered by General Electric’s new generation GEnx 1A engine. An agreement with Rolls Royce has also been signed to supply a new variant of its Trent engine series for the A350, the Trent 1711.
The sixth member of the Trent family, to be known as the Trent 1700, will also be available for A350 deliveries from mid 2011.
Mike Terrett, President, Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, said on the day of the A350 launch “This is an important development which allows us to extend our successful relationship with Airbus on all their new wide-body programmes. We have strong, market-leading or sole source positions with the Trent on the A330, latest A340s, and the A380, and we are equally confident that the Trent 1700 will establish itself successfully on the A350.
“”Like its predecessors, the Trent 1700 will follow a derivative, cost-effective development route, and bring world-best technologies and operating economics to complement this exciting new aircraft.””
The new A350 features a new composite wing and a fuselage made of aluminium lithium, which combined give the aircraft 60 per cent advanced materials. With a new landing gear, over 90 per cent new manufacturing part numbers, and a new redesigned cabin for even more passenger comfort, the A350 will be a new aircraft. The A350 will have unrivalled economics and fuel efficiency. With 30 more seats, it will have 12 to 14 percent more capacity, and offers eight percent lower cost per seat with a 300 nm (555 km) greater range than its nearest competitor. Overall, Airbus said that the A350 is bigger, flies further and is cheaper to operate than its competitor, and will further strengthen Airbus’ position on the world market.
To further reduce operating costs and minimize introduction costs, the A350 retains operational commonality with current Airbus long range products, allowing this new aircraft to benefit from the “Family effect”, complementing the A340 and the A330 with which it shares the same pilot type rating.
Backed by the Airbus shareholders BAE Systems and EADS, Airbus has applied for support in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The European governments have provided letters of general support for the A350. However, Airbus, EADS and BAE Systems have decided that no disbursement should take place as long as there is a credible prospect of negotiations and similar efforts are being undertaken in the United States. This further confirms the willingness of BAE Systems, EADS and Airbus to settle the current trade dispute through negotiation. Airbus However, have offered not to accept state aid to develop and build the jetliner.
In a statement issued by Boeing on the same day the A350 is launched, Boeing reiterated its strong support for the U.S. government’s efforts to end launch aid, whether through a negotiated settlement or continued litigation at the World Trade Organization. “Today’s actions are nothing less than the Airbus partner governments committing launch aid to yet another subsidized airplane, even though senior Airbus executives have repeatedly said their company has the funds to develop the A350 without launch aid. Launch aid is a prohibited, market-distorting subsidy that is unique to Airbus. Launch aid is above and beyond the other forms of government support Airbus already receives — tax relief, government-sponsored R&D, and government-paid infrastructure projects. A permanent and complete end to launch aid is necessary to ensure free and fair competition in the large commercial airplane market. “
Airbus A350 Firm Order Commitments:
Air Europa – 10
Alafco – 12
CIT – 5
Gecas – 10
Kingfisher Airlines – 5
Qatar Airways – 60
TAM – 8
US Airways – 20
Unannounced – 10
Total 140 commitments from 9 Customers
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