Airbus In Talks To Develop A Potential A350neo

**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.

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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:

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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Stephen787

A smart move to at least be thinking of this now to allow plenty of time to plan for any changes.

Kaden

Unlike Boeing…(777x)

Epioclearningstudend999

Agreed

Andrew Boydston

The antithesis of this; Boeing is market watching too and developing just the same. Consider a 787 upgrade announcement by 2022 from Boeing. It will also take five years to market from that announcement. Expect new engines and more plug and play maintenance items making the airplane even more efficient and lighter.

High Mile Club

For some reason, I just had a vivid image of a 787 with a 6 wheel bogie for the main landing gears and some newer GE engine…it’s really weird.

Nate Dogg

Did it have a new wing? If not it will need one….badly!

Nate Dogg

This really is a load of cock and bull. The GE9x with 134″ fan chord won’t even fit under the A350 wing which just about fits the 118″ Trent XWB. The spelling mistakes in the article are blatant….”However it now looks like Rolls Royce is looking at GE…”. Even if it should read Airbus is looking at GE that is utter nonsense. Airbus currently has a 5 year backlog for the A350. They will not suddenly start offering a new engine so soon. Rolls Royce have anticipated having their Ultra fan engine available from 2025. This will outperform the GE9x.… Read more »

Vince

They are not looking to fit the GE9X engine under the A350neo but A derivation of the GE9X which we may call it the GE8X for now which will have a fan diameter smaller than the 134″ found on the B777X. It would seems like Airbus is looking to end the RR exclusivity in the A350 programme and offer a 2nd engine option from GE to try to capture the B777 replacement orders. Airbus failed to convince Air NZ, ANA and Korean air to buy the A350 largely because of these airlines operates only GE engines even on their A330ceo… Read more »

William

As a policy ANA do all major overhauls and maintenance in house. As a policy Rolls Royce does all overhauls. Was never going to work.

Tyler

Seems to work fine for the 80 RR powered 787’s ANA are currently flying.. Believe ANA have the largest fleet of 787s in fact.

Seran

How can it be possible that SQ has a widebody fleet powered only by RR, their boeing 777’s are powered by the Ge90. Neither is it true that the entire ANZ fleet is powered by GE, their very first 787’s were powered by the Trent 1000 and it was only when they place an order for the 787-10 did they choose the GEnx, this is due to a number of their 787’s being grounded due to issues with the RR Trent 1000

Matt

This isn’t a neo in the same sense that it was on the A320 And A330. It will just be the addition of a GE option with similar technology as the Rolls Royce. To me it seems like RR might not be long for this world. This is really the only aircraft they are the exclusive supplier on. On the others it appears that GE dramatically outsells them, and as customers ad new versions of aircraft, they seem to be choosing GE over the RR, even if they have RR equiped like models in their fleet. If airlines switch engine… Read more »

PowerfulNomad

It’s way too soon for A350neo , didn’t airbus learn anything from the a330 failure?

Matt

This isn’t the same neo concept were they’re adding engines with new technology. They’re trying to offer airlines a GE option for the A350. Think of it as SEO, second engine option.

Nate Dogg

Commenting on something you have no idea of. What manufacturer goes through a certification programme with an engine that isn’t even suitable for their aircraft after it has been in service already for 10 years (which it will have by the timeframe given in this article)

Matt

Clearly you are the one who has no idea what they’re talking about. Maybe you should post about 20 more times. Than you can really prove yourself.

Nate Dogg

The A330neo hasn’t been a failure. If they didn’t neo the aircraft it would now be down to about 1 or 2 a month production. They spent 2 billion on the neo which means after 65 airframes they are covered. The orders are actually coming in. Wonder where you get your “failure” info from?

Peter

No harm in looking to the future. Apart altogether from a competitiveness viewpoint, it’s useful if Airbus can make it clear to eco-nags that it’s continuously striving to improve the efficiency of its aircraft. With regard to the RR/GE discussion, I would imagine that airframe manufacturers will, from now on, try to have two engine suppliers, where possible. It has been very fortuitous for Boeing that they had a GE alternative to the problematic Trent 1000 on the 787, and equally fortuitous for Airbus that they have a CFM alternative to the problematic PWG engine on the A320 neo. In… Read more »

charles woods

With 787 RR trent issues, and 777 X GE with a new engine yet to prove itself. This year has shown reliability issues with a record number of shutdowns with new engines on the 787, A220 etc. I think engine manufacturers need to ensure that new technologies incorporated in new engines can prove reliability before the A350 neo is even considered?

Nate Dogg

You are spot on…which is why Rolls have taken the test test test route on the Ultra fan.

Henning

Just look at the early problems GE had with the GE9x engine, and that’s even before the aircraft has been airborne. They will certainly meet more problems down the road. This is a common Problem for every engine manufacturers in the industry, everyone requires new fuel efficient engines in record time.

Smokerr

the only way you can prove it is a long test perio0d of put it into service.

They are pushing the boundaries so far now that test does not show up the issues.

Smokerr

What you are talking about is an A350-2000 note an NEO.

Gerry Stumpe

Why is RR looking at GE? That is a mistake, right? About the new engine…. Will that even fit on the A350? Only way it will is if they redesign the wings like the ones on the A380. Geared Turbofans are great but bulky.

Nate Dogg

The new Rolls Royce Ultra Fan that is currently in test phase has a gearbox. Originally Rolls and Pratt were supposed to develop the GTF together and Rolls didn’t think that P&W’s design would be trouble free so pulled out. While they are right, P&W have had massive orders for the thing and will probably make lots of money on it.

William

Arent RR working with Swiss/German company Liebherr aerospace for the ultra fan gearbox? IAE producers of the V2500 was RR, MTU and P&W. They seemed to have a good thing going.

Gerry Stumpe

Damn Nomad. A330 is a failure? News to me. Sure seems to be everywhere to me.

George Helles

The Fact is A330Neo is brilliant and will pick up quite an order list as the current 1500 A330 classicss in service retire during the next 10 years. A330 Neo is a much better replacement than the 787 for most airliners already running Airbus fleets! I wish my company United would buy into it…. Cheers to A330 Neo/ A320 common cockpit. Boeing really missed out on common cockpit and flybywire!

Tyler

Wonder who would pay for the development of this new GE engine, since they don’t have a suitable powerplant ‘on the shelf’ today. GE9x is far from proven yet, and scaling it down wouldn’t exactly be a 10 minute job… No doubt they might win a few more RFPs if they had a GE option, but I’d question how many and whether it would be worth the cost of investment. More so if the UltraFan lives up the hype, and gives them an even bigger competitive advantage over the 777x / GE9x. There will always be some politically driven airlines… Read more »