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Airbus Considers Larger Version Of The A350

A350-8000 Would Compete With Boeing In The 400-Seat Twin-Engine Airliner Category

Airbus is reportedly considering a new, larger variant of its A350-XWB airliner that would carry 400 passengers, according to industry sources.

Reuters reports that Airbus is looking for support from the airline industry for an airplane ... tentatively designated the A350-8000 ... that would compete with Boeing's 406-seat 777-9, which has seen a lot of orders from the Gulf region.

Airbus is said to be in an active "pre-marketing" phase with the stretched A350, and if it follows through on the project is expected to develop an airliner that does not always need the performance required by the extreme conditions in the Gulf. On the sidelines of the recent ISTAT Americas air finance conference, Airbus sales executive John Leahy said that the A350-8000 would have a "similar capacity and range" as the Boeing product but offer "substantially lower seat-mile costs." He said the company is "showing it to airlines right now."

A source said that the airplane would use a variant of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB that is being developed for the A350-1000 with an increase in thrust from 97,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds.

Boeing's Randy Tinseth was dismissive of the idea. He told Reuters that he was not surprised that Airbus "is attempting to fill a hole in its product lineup after losing market share to the 777X."

FMI: www.airbus.com

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