The body of the Airbus A350-XWB (“Extra Wide Body”), like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, is carbon-composite, making the aircraft lightweight to boost fuel efficiency. Initially Airbus’s A350 program, birthed in 2007, was a rushed, impulsive response to the 787 Dreamliner. Now, the two companies are going head-to-head in the world of commercial aviation.
The first three test A350s used lithium-ion batteries, but in light of the recent lithium-ion battery issues with Boeing (two planes were grounded due to fires caused by the lithium-ion batteries, one in Boston in a plane owned by Japan Airlines, the other an All Nippon Airways aircraft in Japan), Airbus has decided to equip it’s A350 series with nickel-cadmium batteries.
So far, Finnair was the first carrier to order an Airbus A350-XWB, and Aer Lingus, Singapore Airlines, Aeroflot and Qatar Airways have also made orders along with other carriers. Qatar Airways, originally a customer for Boeing, has already lost $200 million in revenue because of Boeing’s production interruptions and two groundings of their 787 Dreamliners, and now Qatar Airways has a potential $3.6 billion dollar deal with Airbus and may buy fifteen A330 jets from Airbus.
Airbus’s A350 line is due to come out this summer, though no date has been set yet.
Since 40 years ago, Boeing and Airbus have been in a battle of superior aircrafts, starting with Airbus’s A300 that was followed by Boeing’s 767 airliner. When Airbus created their A330 and A340, Boeing constructed their 777, and when Airbus came out with their Toulhouse-Hamburg A320, Boeing responded with their Seattle 737. Now with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A350-XWB, the competition is still persisting.
The Airbus A350-XWB has a price of $254-332 million, while the Boeing 787 Dreamliner ranges from $206-243 million. Boeing offers discounts for bigger orders for Airlines. The Airbus A350 line will be able to carry between 250 to 400 passengers, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner can transport between 210-290. Boeing is currently ahead of the game with 56 customers holding at least 800 orders for the Dreamliner, while Airbus boasts a smaller customer base of 35, and an order number of 567 for their A350 series.