Essentially, an airline’s hard product is the plane itself, and the airline’s soft product is the service, food, and the drinks.
Hard product can also be non-airplane constituents, such as lounge amenities. Consequently, the food and drinks in the lounge is soft product, while airline lounge showers are hard products.
The real differentiation is that hard product is hard to alter (requires construction), while soft product can be changed in 5 min with a phone call. Accordingly, limo service is a soft product for the airline (and a hard product for the limo company, at least as far as the car goes). For airplanes, the actual cost of the hard product is the airplane’s downtime during fit out (often greater than the cost of the hardware being added).
A first/business class hard product is anything physically attached to the plane, which doesn’t differ from flight to flight. For example, the seat, onboard amenities (shower, bar, etc.), size of the entertainment screen, etc.
A first/business class soft product is anything which can differ from flight to flight. For example, food, drinks, service, amenity kits, etc.
Ireland’s ultra low cost carrier Ryanair has converted its only B737-700 aircraft (registration EI-SEV) to a corporate jet with 60 seats in the cabin. The aircraft is now is a 2 x 2 configuration. The specifications are:
60 passengers, all business class,
Seats: 2 x 2 seating with 48″ seat pitch, leather reclining seats
Previously, this aircraft already in complete Ryanair livery, was used for training, and may have it has covered a couple of scheduled services. Perhaps the aircraft will be in demand when soccer teams have to play in far-flung eastern European destinations. Ryanair also aims it at sports teams, travel groups as well as business customers. Ryanair will price the services of this aircraft on a cost-per-hour basis, and depending on the departure and arrival airports, the rates could be the most competitive in Europe.
Ryanair’s corporate jet charter is akin to similar services offered by Korean Air (16 or 28-seat 737 Business Jet), Emirates (19-seat A319 Executive Jet) and Qatar Airways (40-seat A319.)
For the summer season, the Boeing 737 corporate jet will be used as a normal passenger aircraft with 149 seats for training and as a backup aircraft for routes between the UK and Ireland.
Ryanair exclusively flies Boeing 737-800 aircraft, of which 320 are in service and 153 in orders, as on 10-Mar-2016. Ryanair is also the launch for the 197-seater Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft with options for an additional 100 aircraft of this subtype—all to be delivered between 2019 and 2023. The MAX 200 aircrafts hold eight more passengers than the popular Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft. This subtype includes a mid-exit door to increase the exit limit. With eight additional seats than the standard 179-seater MAX 8, Boeing claims that the MAX 200 airplane offers 20% superior operating cost efficiency in comparison to the Ryanair’s staple, the 737-800. The front and rear galley spaces are removed and the lavatory space is repositioned to the rear of the aircraft. Surprisingly, Ryanair claims that the seat pitch will stretch to a tad over than 30 inches.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, had been pushing for a maximum-density 737-800 aircraft for ten years. Beyond 200 seats, Ryanair will need a fourth flight attendant on its aircraft. Although Boeing claims that 35% of the worldwide market demand for single-aisle aircraft will in due course lie with low cost carriers (LCCs,) for which the MAX 200 is intended, Ryanair is the sole customer thus far for the Boeing 737 MAX 200. News emerged in March 2015 that Boeing was presenting some airlines with concept of 737-8ERX, a longer-range version of the 737-8 MAX.
Ryanair owns three Learjet 45 aircrafts, which are based at its prominent bases in London Stansted (STN) Airport and Italy’s Bergamo Airport (BGY, 45 km northeast of Milan.) These aircrafts carry Isle of Man registrations M-ABEU, M-ABGV, and M-ABJA. They are primarily used to rapidly transport aircraft parts and maintenance personnel around Ryanair’s ever-expanding network. The number of aircrafts in order is testimony to the ambition of Ryanair to accelerate its traffic growth modestly. Ever since transforming in the LCC paradigm in the mid 1990s, Ryanair has mostly operated a single aircraft type, thereby providing economies of scale and flexibility in terms of aircraft deployment, maintenance, crew scheduling, and training.
Ryanair has unit costs that are lowest of any European airline and one of the lowest of any airline on the planet. Ryanair has a level of unit cost that is unlikely to be equaled by competitors in Europe and so other airlines are doubtful to be able to contend with it on price.
IndiGo Airlines is India’s largest airline. IndiGo operates a low cost carrier and operates 400 daily flights connecting 36 cities in India and outside using Airbus A320 aircraft.
IndiGo’s comical tote bag reproduces IndiGo’s inflight safety card. The tote bag features a comic character of an Indian gentleman in traditional garb, sporting a moustache, and a tilak / bindi (the customary forehead decoration.)
On one corner of the tote bag, the gentleman seems clueless on what to do, but assumedly learns how to fasten his seat belt, fold the tray table, abide by safety instructions, blow into his safety vest, and help his kid wear an oxygen mask after he has worn his own. Specifications:
Width: 16+5/8 inch
Height: 14+1/2 inch
Despite only entering the market about than eight years ago in Aug-2006, IndiGo has rapidly soared up the ranks to become the largest domestic carrier, overtaking Jet Airways and Air India on the way. Over the longer term, IndiGo plans to dedicate 20% of its total capacity to the international sector.
The Airbus A340 is a long-range four-engine wide-body commercial passenger jet airliner manufactured by European aircraft company Airbus. The A340 aircraft was designed concurrently with the Airbus A330, a medium-range twin-engine wide-body similar in design. The four-engine A340 was built for long-haul, trans-oceanic routes due to its immunity from ETOPS. Over the years, the dramatic improvement in the reliability of jet engines, rising cost of jet fuel, and elevated maintenance costs of four engines vis-a-vis two engines led to the economic attractiveness of the twin-jet Airbus A330 and the twin-jet Boeing 777 aircraft. Eventually, Airbus stopped offering the A340 in 2011 due to the dearth of new orders.
Typical 6-Abreast Seat Configuration in First Class
Typical 6-Abreast Seat Configuration in Business Class
Typical 8-Abreast Seat Configuration in Economy Class
The “sharklets,” the signature blended winglets, on the new Airbus A350-XWB sweep 5.20m from its leading-edge attachment to its rear tip and give the aircraft a total wingspan of 64.8m (212ft).
Customarily, wingtip devices are arrow-shaped surfaces attached to the tip of each wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. They improve the overall efficiency of aircraft by reducing aerodynamic drag through partial recovery of the tip vortex energy. This results in saving fuel, lowering noise emissions, and improving take-off performance. Wingtip devices also enhance aircraft handling characteristics and improve safety for aircraft following the aircrafts with wingtip devices.
Blended winglets are special types of wingtip devices that are attached to the wing with smooth curve instead of a sharp angle. Blended winglets aim to reduce interference drag at the seams between the wings and the winglets.
Airbus pioneered the use of wingtip devices beginning with the Airbus A300 and Airbus A310 jetliner programs. Both the Airbus A300 and the Airbus A310 aircraft were fitted with wingtip fences that helped trim down the effects of the aerodynamic drag created by the spiral-shaped vortices at the wingtips of any aircraft during flight.
In the year 1947, the Malayan Airways Limited (MAL) was established with an initial fleet of twin-engined Airspeed Consuls. The first scheduled Malayan Airways flight took place in May 1947 with an Airspeed Consul aircraft carrying five passengers onboard. Passengers helped themselves with the only refreshment made available for the passengers: a flask of iced water. Malayan Airways offered services between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, and Penang.
In January 1971, the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Singapore decided to break up Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA) and start separate state airlines. Malaysia-Singapore Airlines ceased operations on 1-Oct-1972 and was succeeded by Singapore-based Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Kuala Lumpur-based Malaysia Airlines System (MAS).
Recommended Reading: ‘Flying High in a Competitive Industry: Secrets of the World’s Leading Airline’ by Loizos Heracleous, Jochen Wirtz, Nitin Pangarkar. ‘Flying High’ chronicles how the very inventive management grew from the airline from the humblest of beginnings into an industry leader. Singapore Airlines (SIA) is now arguably the most respected airline in the world, one of the most admired companies in the world, and frequently wins international awards for top-flight quality and service.
Airbus Executive and Private Aviation is a division of Airbus that produces private, VIP, corporate, and business jets. The smallest aircraft in Airbus’s VIP jet-portfolio is the A318 Elite and the biggest is the double- or triple-decked Airbus A380 Prestige. The Airbus A350 “Prestige” is based on the A350-900 XWB model. John Leahy, the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer of Airbus has reiterated that “the A350 is already very successful with airline customers and leasing companies. We are also convinced that it is ideal for heads of states, government officials and other VIPS for their long-distance travel, as it offers both the cabin space as well as the range to comfortably reach virtually any part of the world non stop.”
Airbus A350 XWB Prestige Cabin Layout Plan
Airbus A350 XWB Prestige Cabin Concept
MAZ Aviation Consultants (MAZAV,) a prominent aviation consulting firm in the Middle East, contracted to purchase six Airbus A350 XWB Prestige aircrafts in 2008. The aircraft are to extend VIP cabins, and are operated by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. They are to include an advanced and efficient aerodynamic design, with more than 50% of the airframe created of weight-saving carbon fiber composites. MAZ Aviation chairman Mohammed Alzeer expressed, “The kind of private customer that buys a VIP wide body wants the very best, and that’s exactly what they get with the Airbus A350 XWB Prestige. With more cabin space, more range, and a more modern design, the Airbus A350 XWB is the VIP widebody of the future.”
Airbus ACJ350 XWB VIP Private Jet
In May 2016, Airbus announced the launch of a new corporate-jet adaptation of its trendy A350 XWB aircraft, with possibilities for cabin furnishing. Christened the ACJ350 XWB, this private aircraft features 270 square meters (roughly 3000 square feet) of cabin space in the A350-900 version. An ultra-long range variation can fly 25 passengers up to 10,800 nm (roughly 20,000 km) nonstop for an incredible 22 hours!
Wide-body private aircraft like the ACJ350 present customers with an abundance of floor space, consequently allowing corporate and VIP customers to create cabins that not only meet challenging certification rules but also unprecedented comfort at reasonable total cost of ownership. The ACJ350’s carbon fiber fuselage comes equipped with hundreds of attachment points which can significantly streamline the work of cabin-outfitters.
In Airbus’s press release, John Leahy, Airbus’s Chief Operating Officer for Customers, said, “One of Airbus’s greatest strengths is to offer customers the world’s most modern and efficient aircraft family, and the ACJ350 with Easyfit expands its corporate jet offering, giving customers a new way to take their business to the world. Our customers want the best and most modern aircraft that money can buy, and the ACJ350 exemplifies that.”
Airbus has over 180 Airbus corporate jets in commission around the world and is famed for the aircrafts’ extensive nature and versatility.
In response to interest by American Airlines and other airlines that wanted an aircraft smaller than the Boeing 747, but with the ability to carry large passenger loads on medium haul routes, Lockheed decided to develop the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, commonly known as the L-1011 or TriStar. It was a medium-to-long range, wide-body trijet aircraft. Incidentally, The L-1011 was the third wide-body airliner to enter commercial operations, after the Boeing 747 and the competing trijet McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
Despite an innovative set of features that included automatic landing capabilities, an automated descent control system, and purported cabin space, the TriStar was a commercial failure. The TriStar’s sales were hampered by two years of delays due to developmental and financial problems at engine supplier Rolls-Royce. Lockheed manufactured a total of 250 Tri-Star’s until 1984 and withdrew from the commercial aircraft business due to its below-target sales. This ultimately led to the current Airbus-Boeing duopoly with after Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997.
On 16-Sep-2004, Airbus top executive Noel Forgeard confirmed that Airbus had proposed a new twin-aisle mid-size aircraft to customers. This adaptation of the A350 resembled the A330 in fuselage cross-section and assembly, but with new engines, new wings, new horizontal stabilizer, and additional composite materials. For years, Airbus had publicly cast off the threat of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to the Airbus A330.
On 10-Dec-2004, the boards of EADS and BAE Systems, who then owned 80% and 20% of Airbus respectively, approved the “authorization to offer (ATO)” for the now- called A350.
On 06-Oct-2005, Airbus announced the full industrial launch of the A350. The aircraft was to be first available in two versions: the A350-800 (8,800 nmi, 253 passengers in a three-class configuration) and the A350-900 (7,500 nmi, 300 passengers in a three-class configuration.)
On 28-Mar-2006, the President of aircraft lessor Infrastructure Leasing and Finance (ILFC) Steven F. Udvar-Hazy publicly derided the Airbus’ strategy as a poor reaction to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
On 30-Mar-2006, Finland’s Finnair became the first airline to place a firm order for the A350. It ordered 11 A350-900s with an option for four more A350 XWBs.
On 22-Jun-2006, Singapore’s Singapore Airlines ordered 20 A350-900s.
On 14-Jul-2006, at the Farnborough Airshow in Farnborough Airport in Hampshire, England, Airbus presented a redesigned aircraft now called the A350 XWB (Xtra-Wide-Body.) The A350 XWB included a wider fuselage cross-section that could accommodate 10-abreast seating in high-density configuration. All twin-aisle Airbus aircrafts (A300, A310, A330, and the A340) had a common cross-section that could accommodate eight-abreast seating in standard configurations.
On 01-Dec-2006, the board of directors of Airbus approved the industrial launch of the A350 XWB. The aircraft was available in two variants: the A350-800 (8,480 nmi, 270 passengers in a three-class configuration) and the A350-900 (8,100 nmi — 10,300 nmi, 314 passengers in a three-class configuration.)
On 04-Jan-2007, Aircraft lessor Pegasus Aviation ordered two A350-800s.
On 18-Jun-2007, during the 2007 Paris Airshow at the Le Bourget Airport north of Paris, Aircraft lessor Aviation Lease and Finance Company ordered 12 A350-900s with an option for six more A350 XWBs.
On 18-Jun-2007, Qatar’s Qatar Airways ordered 80 A350 XWBs: 20 A350-800s, 40 A350-900s, and 20 A350-1000s at Paris Airshow.
On 20-Jun-2007, Aeroflot Russian Airlines from Russia ordered 18 A350-800s, and 4 A350-900s.
On 20-Jun-2007, Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways ordered six A350-800s.
On 20-Jun-2007, Aircraft lessor CIT Group ordered five A350-900s.
On 20-Jun-2007, Kingfisher Airlines from India ordered five A350-800s.
On 05-Oct-2007, America’s US Airways ordered 18 A350-800s, and 4 A350-900s.
On 26-Oct-2007, Aircraft lessor ILFC ordered 6 A350-800s, and 14 A350-900s.
On 11-Nov-2007, Dubai’s Emirates ordered 120 A350 XWBs: 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s with an option for 50 more A350 XWBs.
On 13-Nov-2007, Yemen’s Yemenia ordered 10 A350-800s.
On 14-Nov-2007, a VIP customer ordered one A350-900.
On 26-Nov-2007, Portugal’s TAP Portugal ordered 12 A350-900s with an option for three more A350 XWBs.
On 28-Nov-2007, America’s Hawaiian Airlines ordered six A350-800s, with an option for six more A350 XWBs.
On 10-Dec-2007, Libya’s Libyan Airlines ordered four A350-800s.
On 21-Dec-2007, Vietnam Airlines from Vietnam ordered 10 A350-900s with an option for two more A350 XWBs.
On 21-Jan-2008, Avianca from Columbia ordered 10 A350-900s with an option for 10 more A350 XWBs.
On 22-Jan-2008, Taiwan’s China Airlines ordered 14 A350-900s with an option for six more A350 XWBs.
On 13-Feb-2008, TAM Airlines from Brazil ordered 27 A350-900s with an option for 10 more A350 XWBs.
On 11-Apr-2008, Ireland’s Aer Lingus ordered nine A350-900s with an option for six more A350 XWBs.
On 04-Jun-2008, Italy’s Alitalia ordered 12 A350-800s with an option for 12 more A350 XWBs.
On 09-Jul-2008, Airbus began wind tunnel testing for the A350.
On 14-Jul-2008, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways ordered 12 A350-1000s with an option for 10 more A350 XWBs.
On 15-Jul-2008, Tunisair from Tunisia ordered three A350-800s.
On 16-Jul-2008, Korea’s Asiana Airlines ordered 30 aircrafts: 8 A350-800s, 12 A350-900s, and 10 A350-1000s with an option for 10 more A350 XWBs.
On 17-Jul-2008, a VIP customer ordered one A350-900.
On 13-Jan-2009, Airbus began construction on the Final Assembly Line (FAL) for the Airbus A350 XWB model. Once the plant hits full production, the FAL is expected to employ some 1,500 people, build ten aircraft a month beginning 2018, and have an area of 74,000 square meters.
On 16-Jun-2009, AirAsia from Malaysia ordered 10 A350-900s with an option for five more A350 XWBs.
On 29-Sep-2009, Airbus successfully tested the wing tester (“demo box 2”) on an installation of the wings of the A350 XWB.
On 15-Nov-2009, Ethiopia’s Ethiopian Airlines ordered 12 A350-900s.
On 10-Mar-2010, America’s United Airlines ordered 25 A350-900s with an option for 50 more A350 XWBs.
On 13-May-2010, Airbus launched three-dimensional validation of the A350 XWB electrical harness installation. It was problems with installation of the electrical harnesses that delayed the delivery of A380 to customers.
On 04-Aug-2010, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific ordered 36 A350-900s.
On 13-Oct-2010, a second Hong Kong-based airline, Hong Kong Airlines, ordered 15 A350-900s.
On 04-Nov-2010, China’s Air China ordered 10 A350-900s.
On 12-Nov-2010, Airbus announced that the first delivery date of the A350-900, the first model to be developed, had slipped from mid-2013 to the second half of 2013 due to the “transition phase from design to manufacturing is a bit longer.”
On 18-Jun-2011, Airbus and Rolls-Royce declared the development of the A350-1000 XWB model (8,420 nmi, 350 passengers in a three-class configuration) with powerful Trent XWB engines capable of delivering 97,000 pounds of thrust.
On 11-Aug-2011, Thai Airways from Thailand ordered four A350-900s.
On 23-Dec-2011, Airbus began assembly of the fuselage the first A350-900 XWB (MSN1) in Toulouse, France.
On 18-Feb-2012, Airbus and Rolls-Royce successfully tested the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB test engine on an A380 “flying-testbed.” The test aircraft conducted tests at different altitudes and speeds. The A380 reached a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet and maximum speed of Mach .9 (1102 kph).
On 05-Apr-2012, Airbus began final assembly of the first A350-900 XWB (MSN1) in Toulouse, France.
On 08-Aug-2012, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific converted 16 A350-900s from an earlier order to the -1000 model, and ordered 10 more A350-1000s.
On 01-Oct-2012, Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways cancelled six A350-800s and ordered 10 A350-900s.
On 03-Dec-2012, Qatar Airways converted their original order of 20 A350-800s, 40 A350-900s, and 20 A350-1000s to 43 A350-900s and 37 A350-1000s. For several years, Boeing’s marketing campaign has tried to cast doubt on the viability of the A350-800 model. Airbus has tried to switch customers to the -900 model casting doubt about the future of the -800 model.
On 13-Dec-2012, Singapore’s Singapore Airlines ordered 20 A350-900s. This was a repeat order from the world’s premier airline.
On 03-Jan-2013, Aircraft lessor CIT Group ordered 10 A350-900s.
On 04-Feb-2013, Aircraft lessor Air Lease ordered 20 A350-900s and 5 A350-1000s with an option for five more A350 XWBs.
On 07-Feb-2013, the European Aviation Safety Agency certified the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB Turbofans.
On 15-Feb-2013, Airbus reverted to proven nickel cadmium main batteries to avoid unnecessary delays to the A350 program’s timeline.
Final Assembly and Preparations for First Flight
On 14-Jan-2009, Airbus held a groundbreaking ceremony for the A350 XWB final assembly facility in Toulouse, France. This assembly line (FAL,) built close to the existing A330-A340 production line, was scheduled to be completed during the third quarter of 2010. Once the plant would hit full production, the FAL is expected to employ some 1,500 people, build ten aircraft a month beginning 2018, and have an area of 74,000 square meters.
On 19-Feb-2013, Airbus began final assembly of the third A350 XWB (MSN3.)
On 26-Mar-2013, Airbus completed installation of the flight-ready Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and the Honeywell GHT1700 APU on the first flight-test A350-900 XWB. The A350-900 aircraft MSN1 became a finished aircraft to be handed to the Flight Test Team after additional testing and painting.
On 22-Apr-2013, Aircraft lessor International Airlines Group ordered 18 A350-1000s with an option for 18 more A350 XWBs.
On 13-May-2013, the first A350-900 XWB (MSN001, tail number F-WXWB) emerged from Airbus’s paint shop. Speculation intensified that Airbus might attempt first flight by the middle of June and debut its aircraft at the 2013 Paris Airshow at the Le Bourget Airport north of Paris.
On 30-May-2013, Singapore Airlines announced a firm order for 30 more A350-900s and options for 20 more A350 XWB aircraft. According to the terms of the deal, Singapore Airlines could choose either the A350-900 or the A350-1000 model when exercising the 20 options. This third order from Singapore Airlines for the Airbus A350 XWB (Xtra Wide Body) brought the total A350 XWBs ordered by Singapore Airlines to 70 firm orders and 20 options for the A350-900.
On 07-Jun-2013, in a video posted by Rupa Haria of Aviation Week magazine, Airbus’s A350XWB project test pilot Frank Chapman confirmed that MSN001 / F-WXWB had completed taxi tests on 05-Jun-2013. Having completed the high-power runs of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines previously, the test flight department planned to perform high-speed taxi speeds in preparation for first flight. Aircraft prototypes typically undergo a two day-long full engineering check after high-speed taxi tests before first flight.
On 12-Jun-2013, Airbus confirmed that the first flight of the A350-900 XWB was planned for 14-Jun-2013 (Friday) pending final pre-first flight tests and inspections. Subject to favorable weather conditions, MSN001 / F-WXWB was planned to take off from the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in Southern France at 10:00 AM. Airbus had scheduled the A350’s first flight three days before the opening of the 2013 edition of the Paris Air Show (Salon international de l’aeronautique et de l’espace, Paris-Le Bourget) where the A350 XWB was expected to perform a simple fly-past.
On 19-Jun-2013, Airbus flew the A350-900 XWB prototype (MSN001, F-WXWB) on its second test flight at the Toulouse-Blagnac airport. The second flight lasted for over five hours where the aircraft flew at its design maximum speed of 0.89 Mach (676 mph) and reached an altitude of 42,000 ft.
By 15-Jul-2013, the first A350-900 XWB, MSN1 / F-WXWB, had completed 92 flight test hours of testing. According to a press release from Airbus, this first phase of flight tests had involved tests of the engines, electrical systems, the ram air turbine (RAT), landing-gear, brakes, fuel systems, cabin pressure, autopilot and autoland systems. The aircraft was to go through a scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the flight test installation in preparation for the second phase of the flight test campaign. MSN1 was to be joined by a fleet of four more A350 XWB aircrafts during the 2,500 hour-long testing and certification campaign for the A350 XWB aircraft.
On 19-Sep-2013, Germany’s Lufthansa (Airbus’s biggest airline customer and operator) committed to buying up to 55 A350-900 aircraft (25 firm and 30 options). The commitment also gave Lufthansa the flexibility to convert some of the order to the larger A350-1000 aircraft.
On 25-Sep-2013, the International Airline Group (IAG) signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to buy 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft plus 18 options. The International Airline Group (IAG) is the parent company of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia. The 36 A350-1000 aircraft were designated for British Airways.
On 03-Oct-2013, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for the order of eight A350-900 plus eight options for A350-900, in addition to four A330-300 Enhanced aircraft. SAS’s Airbus A350 were to be delivered from the year 2018.
On 07-Oct-2013, Airbus received a landmark order from Japan Airlines (JAL) 18 A350-900s, 13 A350-1000s, plus options for a further 25 A350-XWB aircraft. After decades of near-dominance by Boeing of the aircraft market in Japan, this was the first order Airbus ever received from Japan Airlines.
On 14-Oct-2013, the second A350 XWB test aircraft successfully completed its first flight. MSN3’s first flight lasted approximately five hours. MSN1 and MSN3 were to be joined by three more A350 XWB test aircraft and complete 2,500 hours leading to type certification.
On 17-Nov-2013, at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways announced a firm order for 50 A350 XWBs, which comprised of 40 A350-900s and 10 A350-1000s.
On 17-Nov-2013, at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, Boeing launched the response to the threat that the A350 posed to its 777 and 787 aircrafts by launching the 777X with record-breaking orders. Boeing claimed that the 777X would feature technology introduced on the 787 Dreamliner and evolving newer technologies such as an all-new composite wing and many aerodynamic advances. The 777X would feature the all-new GE9X engines developed by General Electric. Boeing claimed that the 777X would be 12 percent more fuel efficient than the A350. With 259 orders and commitments, the launch of the 777X represents the most successful launch of any airline program thus far. Emirates ordered 150, Qatar Airways 50, and Etihad Airways 25 new 777X aircrafts to add to a previously-announced launch order for 34 777X from Germany’s Lufthansa (34).
On 18-Nov-2013, also at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, the Tripoli-based startup airline Libyan Wings ordered three A350-900 jets to build a wider network after commencing short-haul services in 2014.
On 20-Dec-2013, Air Caraibes, the regional airline of the French Caribbean signed a firm contract with Airbus for three A350-1000s. Concurrently, Air Caraibes announced that it would lease three new A350-900s from ILFC.
On 20-Feb-2014, Kuwait Airways ordered ten A350-900 aircraft as part of its fleet renewal strategy. On 09-Dec-2013, Kuwait Airways and Airbus had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard.
Executing a Successful A350-XWB Flight Test Program
On 05-Feb-2014, A350 XWB flight test aircraft MSN3 stopped at Doha’s new Hamad international airport, en route to the Singapore Airshow and completed preliminary Entry-into-Service (EiS) preparations. Qatar Airways is the launch customer for A350 XWB and was lined up to receive it’s first A350, an A350-900, in Q4 of 2014.
A350 XWB flight test aircraft MSN2, which featured a distinctive “carbon” livery, was to be the first A350 XWB test aircraft to include a full passenger cabin for validating the cabin and passenger-related systems. As part of these cabin tests, MSN2 would carry the first A350 XWB passengers during the Early Long Flights (ELF) in spring.