Airbus Touts 400-Seat 'A350-8000' Jetliner
Airbus is enlisting support from airlines in a proposition for their A350-8000, a new 400-seat jetliner expected to compete with Boeing over the distinction of having the world’s largest two-engine Jet. With pressure mounting from Boeing’s 777 series, Airbus has launched an all-out pre-marketing offensive to lobby support for what would be their newest and largest addition to the Airbus family.
Boeing’s 777-9 is the largest twin-engine jet currently on the market which was designed with the expressed intention of excelling in the extreme gulf conditions. Airbus is looking to compete with the size of the 777-9 but necessarily the capabilities required for those kinds of conditions. John Leahy of Airbus Sales notes that the A350-8000 would have similar capacity and range but at the same time be considerably seat to mile costs.
This move is yet just another in a game of one-upping by the two plane makers over the last decade, an expensive game that has created a market of almost 2 trillion dollars over the course of 20 years. Singapore Airlines and British Airways are the two airlines whose feedback could end up being the difference maker in whether or not Airbus launches its new jet.
Singapore Airlines has long been pressuring Airbus to present it with an option to compete with the 777-9 and it was only due to the collapse in oil prices that have relieved the pressure on Airbus to improve on fuel efficiency in its four-engine A380 and allowed Airbus to shift their priorities to the A350-8000 project. Boeing for their part has largely outpaced Airbus in sales of their 777-9 compared to Airbus’ A350-1000, 306-181. Airbus says they have yet to make a final decision on whether or not to launch the new longer plane and will reserve any decisions until their Farnborough Airshow in July.