Airbus today unveiled the A350 XWB’s development cabin interior installed on board flight-test aircraft ‘MSN002’ at the Airbus site in Hamburg.

MSN002 made its first flight on 26th February 2014 and is the first of two test aircraft fitted with a passenger interior as part of the A350 XWB development fleet. Intensive cabin flight and ground tests have already been performed during a two-week stay of the aircraft in Hamburg in mid-March 2014. The cabins of all Airbus aircraft are developed by the engineering and research teams based there. Airbus say “The new interior demonstrates how the aircraft’s “eXtra-wide” fuselage will soon offer passengers even more personal space, flexibility and comfort in business and economy classes, and especially, a wide 18” seat in 9-abreast economy.”

A350 economy cabin

9 abreast

Of course airline customers may demand a 10-abreast economy deemed the “high-efficiency” layout, and at least one airline has done so. Let us hope that most airlines go with the preferred 9-abreast option.

A350 business class cabin night

A350 business class

Potentially cramped accomodation in economy aside, the business class cabin looks positively lovely, and the aircraft’s near-vertical sidewalls will add eXtra spaciousness to the cabin and the large overhead stowage bins are designed to match growing hand-luggage volume requirements.

British Airways A350 on order for 2017

A mock up of the BA A350

Rolls-Royce has won a $5bn order from Etihad Airways for Trent XWB engines, to power 50 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.

Significantly, the order includes long-term TotalCare® support.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has ordered 24 A350-900 Regional, 16 A350-900 and 10 A350-1000 aircraft.
The order takes the total number of Etihad A350 aircraft on order to 62, all powered by the Trent XWB.

Tony Wood, Rolls-Royce, President – Aerospace, said: “This is a significant order for the Trent XWB from a valued customer. We are delighted that Etihad Airways is continuing to expand its fleet of Rolls-Royce powered aircraft and we look forward to developing our relationship further. The Trent XWB is the largest-selling Trent engine, with more than 1,600 on order prior to entry into service next year.”

Rolls Royce Trent xwb

Rolls Royce Trent xwb

The Trent XWB, specifically designed for the Airbus A350 XWB, powered the first test flight of the A350 XWB at Toulouse on 14 June this year.

With British Airways taking delivery of its brand new 787 & A380 aircraft last week, pretty much all of the attention was on the aircraft themselves.

What very people commented on, despite it being such a great success story for UK industry, was the airline’s choice of Rolls Royce engines to power both aircraft. The A380 is powered by 4 Trent 900 engines while the 787-8 series is powered by 2 Trent 1000 engines.


The Trent 1000 in action

British Airways is at the start of  massive fleet investment program as its looks to replace its ageing fleet of 747′s and 767′s in particular. So far the airline has ordered 42 new 787s, 12 A380s, 18 A350s and 6 777s for delivery between now and 2021. Of these new aircraft, all but the new 777-300s will be powered by Rolls Royce engines.

Commenting on events last week, Eric Schulz at Rolls Royce had this to say:  “We are proud to power British Airways into a new era of passenger service. Our technology is helping to deliver better fuel efficiency and environmental performance on a new generation of aircraft operated by a valued customer.”


In case you were in any doubt, it is definitely on between Boeing and Airbus with both showing the next generation of aircraft at the Paris Airshow.

Of course Boeing have a huge headstart, even with the problems experienced by the Dreamliner it will be years before it is challenged in the skies by the A350.

However orders for the A350 are rolling in and Airbus have done well to get the A350 in the air and flying very carefully over the Airshow. Apparently it was only the third time that the craft had been in the air, and it was something of a surprise that it attended the Airshow. The fly past was part of a test flight of the craft which, we are told, is functioning exactly as expected.

The craft which is about 70% composite materials in flight showed off its lovely composite wings as it banked and then flew off into the clouds. Airbus claims the plane is around 8% more efficient than the 787. Bring it on, on we say, we would really like to see more energy efficient aircraft in our skies very soon, particularly at BA which has ordered 18 of the “mini-jumbos”. Energy efficient planes are a win all round as they are more profitable, and of course greener.

Here is a link to our coverage of the first flight.

The Paris Air Show starts tomorrow and Boeing seems set to steal some of the focus away from the new Airbus A350 by confirming that it will proceed with the Dreamliner 787-10 series.

The 787-10 is set to be the largest aircraft in the 787 range (the 787-8 series is already in operation and will be followed shortly by the larger 787-9 series) with seating for up to 323 passengers. It is thought that Boeing had been waiting for enough blue-chip customers to place ‘orders’ for the aircraft before finally giving the project the green light.

Singapore Airlines has said that it will take 30 of the new aircraft while United & British Airways are also thought to be keen. The UK flag carrier already has firms orders for the 787-8 (which arrives this month) and 787-9, but earlier this month confirmed an option for a further 18 Dreamliners. The fact that the airline failed to specify which model the order was for, as well as stating that the aircraft were intended to replace its ageing fleet of 747s, points to at least part of this order (and the rumour is for 10 aircraft) being for the 787-10.

British Airways 787 Dreamliner