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.

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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!

13 comments
  1. Most of the airlines configured their B777-300ER to seat close to 400pax in 2 class. This is already beyond the capacity of the A350-1000 which is only capable of seating 366pax in 2 class. It will be a bad decision from Airbus not to pursue the A350-2000. They will be giving up a sizable chunk of the market looking to replace the B777-300ER in the coming decade.
    They may not consider it for now, but when they re-engine the A350 with the RR Ultrafan, Airbus should seriously reconsider offering the A350-2000 then.

    1. Careful about seat counts! A350-1000 has the same cabin length as 777-300ER but only 4 pairs of doors, and a one-piece area for Business Class seats. A350-1000 gets 3 additional rows of YC @31 inch pitch just for that. Of course, if 777-300ER Economy is at 10-abreast versus 9-abreast on the A350-1000, the Boeing gains around 24 seats. This provides a net seating advantage of 3 seats for A350-1000, even at 9-abreast in the Economy class.

  2. I do agree with Airbus to maintain the A350-1000 as the largest Airbus option, unless the A380 eventually could be operated with only 2 engines instead of 4. Could this technically be @n option, because the A380 is, as a passenger, the BEST, I’ve been on in my 75 lifetime. Will be on my way to Sydney again sometime in October/19

    1. The A380 can’t have its weight brough down enough for 2. You MIGHT be able to shrink it and redo the entire frame and wings in composites and get there on the GE90-115Bs, but with the full size of it now, even with an all-composite redesign, no way.

      The A380 will need to be redone as a tri-jet. The 777-300ER is already a tough bird to handle if one engine fails. I wouldn’t want to fly in anything with much more single-engine thrust than that.

  3. You can’t design an airplane on the fly unless you are 737 MAX. They need a new engine presumably from Rolls Royce which won’t be here for at least 5 years .

  4. I’d be very surprised if the Airbus “skunk works” didn’t have a secret large aircraft taking shape. But I agree, they will likely focus on the A321XLR for now, and after the A380 has proved size isn’t everything, they will likely be watching the 777X service record and fine tuning their next gen A350. With the RR Ultrafan, it may well turn out to be the new class leader.

  5. There is no need really for the big and too commercialized plane set-up. Airbus A380 was a wonderful and successful aircraft although airlines could not cope up with operational expenses. Airbus A350 is very suitable for travelers in 400 with comfort. Boeing set-up is a bit squeezy seating and we are not sure how they configure their seats in 777X.

  6. I suspect that Airbus found that they would not extend the A350 to the level of 400 passengers without degradation of performance. By looking at recent orders, they are having a hard enough time even selling the -900 and -1000, and the numbers for the 777X are not over whelming either, So why spend more money on a plane that wil not sell. The -2000 would be a half hearted response (like the 747-8), and would not pay for itself. So I am in agreement with Airbus on this one, unlike most of your other readers.

  7. “All” they have to do is add 4 metres to the plane (A350-1000) which will allow 5 rows of seats @ 32″ pitch
    Thus, 45 extra seats: 366+45 = 411.
    Or, if you want premium economy, add 4×8 seats = 398 seats – close enough.

    If all airbus are doing is developing the A321xlr, it makes me wonder what the rest of their design engineers are up to.

  8. I’am convinced Airbus, sooner than later, will announce a rebirth of a similar to their “Concorde”, and make all the Wet Dreamers wake up to future realities. Just a question of time, but the project is in the making.

  9. The comment regarding maximum capacity is incorrect!
    Evelop Airlines already operate an A350-900 configured with 432.

  10. I have said before that I anticipate a 747-400 sized twin jet being their next all new model. I don’t see Airbus allowing Boeing to have the full market in that size range. They already have a place to build it since A380 production is winding down.

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