Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer, presented plenty of enthusiasm about Airbus’ position in the competition.
Rather than offering the standard A350-900 and A350-1000, Airbus is proposing an Ultra Long Range (ULR) variant of both to Qantas, which the airline has positively responded to.
The following table presents some key specifications of the contending aircraft. Note the asterisks – they’re referenced at the end of this article for clarity.
|Aircraft||MTOW (t)**||Range (km)||Engines|
|Airbus A350-1000*||316***||15,557||Trent XWB-97|
|Airbus A350-900ULR||280||18,000||Trent XWB-84|
Qantas’ CEO, Alan Joyce, has held thorough meetings with both manufacturers and now issuing a call for the best and final offers according to Flight Global.
A decision is expected to be made in August, with the winning manufacturer unveiling their product. Delivery is scheduled to take place in late 2022 with flights from Sydney and Melbourne launching in 2023.
Joyce also has London, Paris and Frankfurt in mind as well as Chicago in the United States, however planning is ongoing and is subject to approval.
Unfortunately for curious passengers and aviation enthusiasts, Qantas has elected to drop the idea of below deck modules for bedding, gyms and office spaces because of the weight involved.
@Airbus and @SAFRAN lower deck modules on display at #AirbusID. A350 is fully supportive, A330 just needs an air supply adaptation. Can be installed or removed during stop overs – loaded like cargo containers – plug based for electrical. pic.twitter.com/Xj86vXberE
— Inflight Aviation News (@news_inflight) May 21, 2019
Instead, Qantas will be offering an upgraded cabin product as well as an area for economy and premium economy passengers to stand up, stretch and hydrate.
Both aircraft are unable to carry cargo on the flights and have never been capable of reaching Joyce’s dream capacity requirements, however he remains confident the airline can pull it off.
All that’s needed now is for operating crew to agree on the conditions of the flight and undergo the required preparation work.
What aircraft do you see Qantas choosing?
*A350-1000 range – potential ULR range unknown
**Maximum Takeoff Weight
***MTOW increase to 319t being studied for ULR