**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.
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.
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.
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.
Airbus offered the following comment on A350neo pressure:
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.
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 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.
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.