The world’s most modern commercial jetliner – the A350 XWB – kicked off the 2015 International Paris Air Show in style – “wowing” crowds at Le Bourget Airport just as it is impressing a growing number of passengers around the globe in commercial service.
Highlighting the A350 XWB’s major presence at the world’s oldest and biggest aerospace gathering, Airbus announced a new order and commitments covering 31 of these aircraft from two customers today. This includes a Letter of Intent with Garuda Indonesia for the purchase of 30 A350 XWB to expand its medium- and long-haul network aircraft, and an additional firm order for one A350-900 from U.S.-based Air Lease Corporation, which now has ordered 26 total A350 XWBs .
Meanwhile, all eyes were on Airbus’ cabin-equipped MSN002 developmental A350 XWB jetliner as it kicked off the Paris Air Show in style today by delivering France’s President François Hollande to Le Bourget Airport, before he formally opened the aerospace event. MSN002 – which is also performing flying displays at the show – is one of two A350 XWBs on the grounds of Le Bourget Airport this week, joined by a Qatar Airways A350-900 that is being displayed in the Airbus static exhibition area.
100,000 passengers and counting: Exceeding expectations in commercial service
And Le Bourget Airport isn’t the only place the A350 XWB is making strong impressions. It also is doing so in the skies for global launch customer Qatar Airways and its passengers – providing superior operating economics for the Gulf-based carrier, while offering unrivalled comfort to travellers.
Four A350 XWB aircraft are currently in service for Qatar Airways and the jetliner is already exceeding expectations – having flown 100,000 passengers and counting, with an average daily utilisation of more than 11 hours.
On track: focusing on new customers and production ramp-ups
The next step for Airbus will be to continue this smooth service entry as three new airlines are scheduled to join Qatar Airways in welcoming the A350 XWB to their fleets this year, bringing this highly-efficient jetliner to four total operators in four different regions.
Vietnam Airlines is set to receive the A350 XWB this summer, becoming the type’s first Asian operator. Finnair is slated to be the no. 1 operator in Europe, when it takes delivery of the A350 XWB in autumn, and TAM is to be the initial airline to receive the A350 XWB in the Americas with handover planned by year-end.
Overall, Airbus is on track to deliver approximately 15 of the highly-efficient aircraft during 2015 – keeping the company on pace to reach its ramp-up target of 10 aircraft produced per month by 2015.
The longer-fuselage A350-1000 version is also progressing well with production activities commencing in all Airbus plants – including the start of sub-assemblies –which keeps the A350-1000 on track per programme planning.
Formulating the future
Alongside the A330 and A380, the A350 XWB helps provide Airbus with a comprehensive market-leading product line of widebody jetliners that range from 200 to over 500 seats and are well positioned to meet the significant growth expected in the aviation industry.
“What we are really seeing is much more growth year-after-year in the emerging markets around the world,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer – Customers, during a briefing at the Paris Air Show to announce Airbus’ latest global market forecast, which is entitled “Formulating the Future” and covers the 2015-2034 timeframe.
According to the report, Airbus latest projection foresees a 4.6 percent annual worldwide rate of air traffic growth over this time period – driven by developing markets and urbanisation – that will requiring some 32,600 new passenger and dedicated freighter aircraft valued at $US 4.9 trillion.
A firm endorsement of Airbus’ commercial jetliners
Underscoring this growing need for commercial aircraft and the popularity of its jetliners, Airbus announced firm orders and commitments from across its widebody, single-aisle and corporate jet product lines on the first day of the Paris Air Show.
In addition to the A350 XWB’s commercial activity, Airbus also announced that Saudi Arabian Airlines has decided to add 20 A330-300 Regionals to its fleet, becoming the launch operator for the jetliner type. Sized to accommodate approximately 400 passengers, this lower-weight A330 version is optimised for use on domestic and regional routes in high-growth markets.
From the A320 Family, orders and commitments were announced for 95 single aisle aircraft, including 60 A320neo (new engine option) Family aircraft from GE Capital Aviation Services; 30 A320ceo (current engine option) for Saudi Arabian Airlines; along with four jetliners for Air Lease Corporation (one A321 ceo and three A320ceo); In addition, Riyadh-based Alpha Star committed to one ACJ319neo as a launch customer for this enhanced member of Airbus’ corporate jet family.