Airbus to Build 280-tonne MTOW A350-900


Airbus will offer its A350-900 twin-engined widebody aircraft with a 280-tonne maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) from 2020.

The standard -900 aircraft—offered as a 268 tonne aircraft, will have the same MTOW as the recently launched ultra long-range version of the aircraft, adopted by Singapore Airlines for its nonstop flights to the US.

At the same time, the company will give the aircraft 2% reduction in fuel burn, with 1% coming from aerodynamic improvements, while the other 1% will come from changes within the Rolls-Royce XWB-84 engine, Airbus is due to announce here on the eve of the FIDAE Airshow on March 28.

Airbus says the combined MTOW increase and efficiency improvements will nudge the -900’s range up by an additional 500 nautical miles, if the aircraft is carrying 325 passengers in a three-class configuration.

“Airlines have pushed us in two directions on the A350,” Airbus EVP-strategy Kiran Rao said in London on March 23, pointing out that the -900 is being offered in a regional configuration with down-rated engines as well as in the ULR variant.

Rao said airlines increasingly wanted flexibility within their fleets, with the option of moving regional aircraft into long-haul operations. By offering the higher-takeoff weight option into the standard -900 provides more flexibility depending on airline requirements, Airbus believes.

The company has already developed a 278-tonne MTOW higher gross weight version for Philippine Airlines and its transpacific services.

“We can take a regional aeroplane and turn it into ultra-long range, and vice versa,” said Rao.

“We are creating a flexible aircraft, and airlines buy into flexibility.”

Rao gave few details about the aerodynamic performance improvements, but the company says they have been flown and tested.

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The A350 is making its Latin American public debut at the FIDAE Airshow, and is due to arrive here in Santiago from Buenos Aires on March 28.