Airbus Won’t Increase A350 Capacity To Match Boeing 777X

There had been rumours that Airbus would be introducing a larger variant of the Airbus A350, the A350-2000 to compete against the Boeing 777X. These rumours have, however, been snubbed as Airbus spoke out against them yesterday in Toulouse.

Airbus A350-2000 Boeing 777X
Airbus will not build an A350-2000. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Following several years of deliveries, more and more airlines are slowly receiving the Airbus A350. It is proving to be a popular choice as Airbus phases out the A380. Indeed, Airbus sees the A380 as a success for its influence on the A350. However, the new kid on the block, the Boeing 777x is set to offer the A350 some formidable competition.

About the A350

Airbus offers two variants of the A350, the -900 and the -1000. Airbus had built 265 A350s as of the end of April. The A350-900 has a list price of US$317.4 million, whilst its big brother, the A350-1000, has a list price of US$366.5 million. The two aircraft carry a maximum of 315 and 369 passengers respectively, while they’re both rated for 440 passengers for evacuation purposes.

Additionally, Airbus had originally been offering an A350-800 to accompany the family. However, this was axed after Airbus realised customers would rather purchase the A330neo for that size of aircraft.

Airbus A350-2000 Boeing 777X
The Airbus A350 is the manufacturer’s leading twin-engine widebody aircraft. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Bigger plane, more passengers

Rumours had been flowing that Airbus would build an even larger Airbus A350. The Airbus “A350-2000” would be the largest of the family and could carry the most passengers. Indeed, it would’ve carried over 400 passengers. While not quite as many passengers as the Airbus A380, it would’ve rivalled Boeing’s forthcoming offering.

Boeing 777X

Next year, Boeing is set to deliver the first 777X aircraft to Lufthansa. The new Boeing 777-9 will be able to carry a total of 414 passengers in a two cabin configuration. With the A380 being discontinued, Airbus will, for the foreseeable future, have no direct competition in place for Boeing’s new aircraft.

Airbus A350-2000 Boeing 777X
Airbus will not be competing against the Boeing 777X. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

No demand

Australian Business Traveller was lucky enough to speak to the CEO of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, yesterday in Toulouse. He told them why Airbus is not pursuing a larger A350 to compete against Boeing:

We made the first priority to try to find another way to serve this capacity… we are happy with the A350 (-900 and -1000) so we keep focusing on those versions of the plane.

The future

As far as well can tell, Airbus has no new aircraft launches planned beyond an extra long range version of the A321. However, we do know that Boeing is working on a new aircraft dubbed the 797. There is a possibility that Airbus could surprise us with a new aircraft to match the Boeing 777X’s payload, however, this is likely a long way down the line. Given the amount know about Boeing’s 797, it is unlikely Airbus could keep such a big project a secret.

Do you think Airbus should compete against the Boeing 777X? Let us know in the comments!