Airbus In Talks To Develop A Potential A350neo

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**Update: 17/11/2019 @ 17:35UTC – Airbus returned a request for comment**

Airbus has a pretty solid product line. Now, the aircraft manufacturer appears to be looking forward. Aviation Week reports that Airbus is looking for a potential engine supplier for a re-engined Airbus A350 aircraft.

Airbus A350
Airbus is looking at developing a re-engined Airbus A350neo, although nothing is firm. Photo: Airbus

The Airbus A350

One of the newest and best-selling widebody aircraft is the Airbus A350. Although the aircraft has only been in flight a few years, it is clear that the A350 is a customer favorite and will be around for years to come. The new A350 has allowed airlines to launch new ultra-long-haul flights such as from Singapore to New York. And, plenty of airlines, like British Airways, have experimented with launching new products onboard the A350.

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Airbus A350 British Airways
Onboard the A350, British Airways has debuted a new business class seat. Photo: Simple Flying

Airlines are generally choosing between the 787 or A350 for new widebodies. Several carriers operate both variants, in fact. Although, the A350 is also large enough to compete with the 777 and 777X. However, without the 777X in service, the A350 has competed more directly with the 787.

Virgin Atlantic A350
Virgin Atlantic is one airline that has both the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 on order. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The Airbus A350neo

Looking ahead, Airbus will eventually have to offer a replacement widebody aircraft. The Airbus A380 is set to end production in the coming years and the A330neo does not offer the range or capacity for airlines that the A350 lineup does. So, now it makes sense for Airbus to look at the popular A350 and consider a future type.

Asiana A350
The popular A350 could be replaced with an A350neo in the future. Photo: Simple Flying

Airbus offered the following comment on A350neo pressure:

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As a leading aircraft manufacturer we are always looking into advancing our aircraft / offerings to the benefit of our customers, keep our aircraft on the leading edge, [and] enhancing value. There is no pressure as the A350 is today is the aircraft of choice (given its unprecedented track record and excellent customer feedback). This is also thanks to the engine

Airbus is looking for an engine manufacturer for the A350neo

Rolls Royce offers Trent XWB engines for the current Airbus A350. However, it appears now that Rolls Royce is looking at GE. Aviation Week reported that Airbus and GE were in talks back in October for a new engine for a future A350. This engine is based on GE’s new engine for the 777X, which is currently one of the culprits behind the 777X delay.

Boeing 777x
GE’s innovations for the 777X engine have piqued Airbus’ interest. Photo: Boeing

To this, Airbus offered Simple Flying the following comment:

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We are regularly in discussions with our engine manufacturers about a vast portfolio of topics. These talks we keep – as usual – confidential

Re-engined variants are not always successful

Airbus has a test case in the lineup. The Airbus A330neo is a re-engined version of the very successful A330. However, the A330neo has not been a major success to the likes of either the 787, A350, or even original A330. Part of the reason is that the replacement cycles of the A330 have not kicked in yet. However, several airlines are giving the A330neo some looks now.

Airbus A330neo
Airbus has the A330neo to consider. Photo: Simple Flying

Airbus would look at a late-2020s introduction for the A350neo. Although still about ten years away, Airbus will have to consider the market. Perhaps, Airbus is trying to compete directly with the 777X which is expected to enter service in the early 2020s.

Overall

Ultimately, Airbus has not confirmed the Airbus A350neo. Although, the European manufacturer is smart to consider the future.

Do you think Airbus will go for a new Airbus A350neo? Let us know in the comments!

Simple Flying reached out to Airbus for comment and will update the article accordingly. 

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