There are two models of the Airbus A350 aircraft, but how are they different? Why did Airbus build two models? Explore!
Why was the Airbus A350 built?
The Airbus A350 The spiritual heir of the Airbus A340 line. The A350 specializes in long-distance travel, but not as great passenger capacity as the Airbus A380. The A350 will compete with the Boeing 787-10 and 777 series, especially the new Boeing 777X, which will enter service in 2021.
There are two versions of A350, Smaller A350-900 and larger A350-1000. Airbus had plans for a smaller Airbus A350-800, which competed with smaller Boeing 787 aircraft, but due to production delays, this model fell short in favor of others in the range. There is also a special variant of the A350-900 called ULR (Ultra Long Range) with some special features, which we will get below.
The Airbus A350-900 can carry 300 to 350 passengers in a two-class configuration. It is typically 315 seats, 48 lie-flat business and 267 economy. The aircraft has a maximum departure limit of 440 passengers.
For the Airbus A350-900ULR, the configuration is different by eliminating the economy and replacing it with a premium economy cabin. Singapore AirlinesThe aircraft operating this type is configured with 161 seats with 94 premium economy seats and 67 lie-flat business seats. This aircraft sells mostly business seats and the cheapest premium economy cabin surprisingly from that cabin front.
When it comes to passengers, the A350-1000-900 is 11-frames longer (approximately seven meters or 23 feet) and has a slightly larger wing. The space can carry 350-410 passengers, which are typically housed in a two-class configuration of 369 passengers from 54 business and 315 economies.
When it comes to scope, it can be a little complicated:
- The Airbus A350-900 has a range of 15,000 km / 8,100 nautical miles
- The Airbus A350-900ULR has a range of 18,000 km / 9,700 nautical miles
- The Airbus A350-1000 has a range of 16,100 km / 8,700 nautical miles
Usually you think the plane is bigger, has more fuel and has more range. This is not the case with the A350 series, as the A350-900ULR has a longer range, although there are no additional fuel tanks (this range comes from various upgrades that increase the capacity from 141,000 to 165,000 liters (37,000 to 44,000 US gallons)).
Both the Airbus A350-900 and -1000 are relatively efficient when it comes to the range (there are more than 15,000 routes, with an additional 1000km deal breaker). Qatar has also noticed this, And for its order, they chose the -1000 for passengers over 1000 extra nautical miles offered by ULR.
Bottom line differences
In summary, -1000 is better for larger passengers, -900 is a more flexible platform with a larger range. It remains to be seen whether these improvements will reach the A350-1000 in time.
What do you think? Did you fly on both? Let us know in the comments!