Airbus showcases A350-1000 in Sydney

F-WLXV overhead Sydney Harbour. (Bernie Proctor)

Airbus showcased its Airbus A350-1000 to Qantas in Sydney on Monday morning during the type’s first visit to Australia.

The biggest member of the Airbus’s A350 XWB family was in Sydney as part of a world tour ahead of the type’s first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways on February 20.

F-WLXV, as flight AIB107, departs Sydney on its demonstration flight. (Victor Pody)

The aircraft, MSN065 F-WLXV, is Airbus’s third A350-1000 flight test airframe, and operated a short return flight from Sydney Airport with a number of Qantas senior executives onboard, including Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce.

Alan Joyce ahead of the demonstration flight. (Bernie Proctor)

Qantas is particularly interested in the A350 design for its Project Sunrise requirement for an aircraft capable of flying nonstop from the east coast of Australia to both London and New York (for which Boeing is expected to offer a development of its Boeing 777-8X). The aircraft will also be demonstrated to Air New Zealand in Auckland on Tuesday, while in the past Virgin Australia has also shown interest in Airbus’s newest widebody design.

“When we look at the total [A350] backlog 35 per cent of the total orders of the A350 belong to customers in Asia Pacific,” head of A350 marketing Marisa Lucas-Ugena told media ahead of the demonstration flight.

Airbus A350 orders in the Asia Pacific. (Airbus)
Airbus A350 orders in the Asia Pacific. (Airbus)

“We have 14 customers in Asia, eight of them have already received A350-900s, and while you see the ‘Pacific’ part of [the map of Asia Pacific] is a little empty we are really looking forward to filling [that gap] with some A350 orders.”

To date Airbus holds 854 orders firm orders for the A350, of which 146 had been delivered by the end of January. Of those, 169 orders are for the A350-1000.

F-WLXV nose to nose with a Qantas A380. (Bernie Proctor)

While Airbus’s solution for the Project Sunrise mission seems likely to be based on the 9,7000nm range A350-900ULR, which has been ordered by Singapore Airlines to operate nonstop from Singapore to New York, the high degree of commonality between A350 variants means the A350-1000’s visit was a timely one for Qantas technical and operational staff as the airline appraises its options for the demanding ultra long-haul mission.

One of commercial aviation’s most advanced flightdecks. (Airbus)
F-WLXV’s generic business class cabin. (Bernie Proctor)
The flight test engineer station on F-WLXV. (Bernie Proctor)
Nine abreast in economy. (Bernie Proctor)

After visiting Sydney and Auckland, the A350-1000 is due to visit Tokyo and Manila at the conclusion of its tour before returning to Toulouse. It had arrived in Sydney from Bangkok on Saturday evening.

 

Comments

  1. hadfh says

    “The choice of Asia………35% of the worldwide orders”.

    60% of the worldwide population lives in Asia and according to IATA, compromised 33% of worldwide air travel in 2017 (gaining every year).

    So 35% is actually just on par with market. No particular choice made by Asia at all.

  2. Brad says

    How come Malaysian Airlines doesn’t appear on Airbus’ presentation slide of Asia-Pacific customers?

  3. says

    The 9 abreast config. in the A350 economy is a winner! Much better than either the 787 with a cramped 9 abreast or the 777 with an even more cramped 10 abreast! I fear that if Qantas select the 777X the number crunchers would convince management to go 10 abreast!