The Airbus A350-900 vs A350-1000 – What’s The Difference?

The Airbus A350 is one of the best aircraft to have been engineered and built in the world today and stands among giants like the Boeing 747, 777 and 787 and the Airbus A330 and A380. However, it can be confusing to know what exactly is the difference between the two Airbus A350 models.

There are two main versions of the Airbus A350. Photo: Getty Images

How many types of Airbus A350 are there?

There are two main models of the Airbus A350.

The first is the Airbus A350-900. This aircraft is designed to carry 315 passengers in a two-class configuration (48 passengers in business and 267 in economy) to a range of 15,000 km / 8,100 nautical miles.

You can see a review of the Singapore A350-900 here.

Speaking of Singapore, Airbus actually created a further version of the A350-900 aircraft called the Airbus A350-900ULR. This aircraft has extra fuel capacity and is able to fly mammoth 17-hour routes such as Singapore to New York direct. Because of the distance, Singapore has only got business and premium economy onboard.

The other model that Airbus developed is the bigger A350-1000. This aircraft is a stretch of the A350 airframe and can carry 369 passengers in a two-class configuration (54 business and 315 economy) to a range of 16,100 km (8,700 nautical miles). This aircraft has been chosen for the Qantas Project Sunrise to connect London and Sydney, thanks to its impressive range and fuel capacity.

The A350-1000 has great fuel efficiency and is the reason that French Bee is going for a full economy configuration on their fleet (over 450 seats).

Cathay Pacific A350
Cathay Pacific A350. Photo: Cathay Pacific

The ‘other’ two models

There are two more proposed models of the A350 that have not been built but could be in the near future.

The first is the smaller Airbus A350-800. This aircraft was proposed as a shrinking of the A350-900 and would have been the replacement, or successor, of the A330-200. It would have carried 276 passengers in a typical 3-class configuration with a range of 15,270 km (8,250 nautical miles), a tad further than the -900. However, when Airbus launched the A330neo series, all orders for the A350-800 were upgraded to the -900 and the -800 plan shelved.

Another plan that still might happen is a further stretch of the -1000 to take on the Boeing 777X-9. This new stretch, dubbed the A350-1100 or -2000, would have 45 more seats and aimed at aircraft looking to replace the Boeing 747. However, Airbus has said they won’t move forward with the plans as it might steal sales away from the A350-1000 (after all, wouldn’t’ the Airlines just upgrade to the biggest possible A350?).

Lastly, there is also an opportunity for Airbus to develop an A350neo in the next five years when newer and better engine designs come out. The A350neo actually uses a relatively older engine and could be upgraded with the likes of the new Boeing 777X GE9X or a relatively similar engine. A neo version might also be stretched like the idea for the A350-1100.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.