By John Dodge
Posting in Design
On paper, the A350 looks like a heck of airplane, but is indistinguishable from Boeing's 787 Dreamliner in many respects. Here's a comparison.
If you removed its name in the spec sheet, Airbus' forthcoming A350 XWB (eXtra Wide Body) passenger jet could easily be confused with its primary rival, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It will take a while before you can easily distinguish one from the other once they are both regularly in the air.
The A350 will be made from 53 per cent carbon fiber; the 787 is 50 per cent carbon fiber. Both are long range and can fly in excess of 8,000 miles without refueling. Somewhat bigger, the A350 will have 270-440 seats to the 787's is 210-330. Both come in three models although the smallest 787 may be dropped.
The A350 promises 25 per cent fuel consumption improvement from its "current long range nearest competitor (it's unclear what plane Airbus is comparing the A350 to on fuel efficiency, but offers it as a replacement for "any [Boeing] 747 operator"); the 787 claims to deliver 15 per cent better fuel efficiency over the similarly-sized (and aged) Boeing 767.
The 787 has 876 orders from 53 customers while the A350 has 505 from 32 customers (about what the 787 had at the same stage in its development). The A350 windows are wider; the 787's are taller.
It goes on and on like that. For the flyer, you say ToeMAYto, I say ToeMAHto.
Of course, there are major differences.
One area in the A350 that will distinguish it from other passengers jetliners, though, will be the cockpit which will have six "very large LCD displays" comprising the flight information center instead of the 10 found in the A380 super jumbojet (much of the technology in the A350 was hatched in the A380). Solid state electronics in the cockpit also reduce the need for the hundreds of individual circuit breakers typically found in jetliners.
Another difference is that the A350 is still on paper. The first one won't roll off the line in Airbus' new Toulouse, France final assembly plant until 2011. Airbus expects to enter the A350 into service in 2013, but if its experience is anything like Boeing's with the 787, add two years to that timetable. Some aviation bloggers say there's hints the schedule is already slipping.
With any luck, Boeing will ship the first 787 to customers in the fourth quarter of this year.
Given the scale of investment, the effort to design jetliners and competiton in the same markets, it stands to reason they are similar in both size and technology. But it doesn't always work that way: Airbus developed the huge and less successful A380 while Boeing concentrated on the more modest 787.
Another major difference is that the biggest model, the A350 1000, will carry up to 100 passengers more than the biggest 787. Boeing's answer to that is the 747-8 Intercontinental, a new model of the world's first jumbojet.
The A350 will be a lot more expensive than the 787. It lists for $225-$285 million; At $150-$205 million, the 787 is a relative bargain. Those prices are usually discounted, but the starting point for the conversation would clearly seem to favor Boeing unless the A350 turns out to be that much better.
Buying something as sophisticated as jetliners, however, isn't just a head-on comparison of price performance. Years of dealmaking includes courtships, politics and occasionally, bribes. Time and sales wise, though, the A350 has to climb much higher to reach cruising altitude than the 787 at this point.
One area where I think Airbus is considerably ahead of Boeing is its web site. Airbus.com is more easier searched and much more visually pleasing. But can that translate into an edge in airplane performance..and sales?
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Mar 1, 2010
Well I think the competition between both the industries must be positive and comparison should be made on the basis of performance. http://www.ppiclaimuk.org.uk/ppi-reclaim
John Dodge is your stories a Boeing advertisements? The first A350 is in production and the first parts and wing box is going thru the testing phase Spirit Aero Systems in Kinston, North Carolina is build some of the parts for the A350 http://www.spiritaero.com/about_us.aspx?id=2933 The 787 has 876 orders from 53 customers and 114 cancellations The 787-8 is 3.5 years late and 32 billion was spent on the first 40 aircrafts, and will not made any money for 10-20 years ! The 787-8 has a under design wing box and of the 70 787-8 build to date 55 of the 787-8 need to rework, 40 787-8 are still park at Paine field, The first aircrafts are 9.8 tons over weight other later aircrafts are 6.8 tons over weight The first 787-8 will not meet performance requirement per Boeing spokesman, Jim Proulx The 787-9 has only release 50% of its drawing and the -10 is TBD The A350 will be build using composite panels attach to a metal airframe that will save on weight, and if a panel get damage its remove and replace, there is no pressurize repair for the 787-8 barrel sections the 787 required bonding strap ect to have a ground path which add a lot of weight to the aircraft Boeing has spent 2.2 billion on the 747-8 that two years late 747-8 has 111 confirmed orders including 75 of the freighter version, and 36 of the passenger version Altus air cancels their first aircraft, Cargolux refuse delivery of their aircraft for the first months Delta and other aircraft has no plan to replace their 747-400 with 747-8 ! Boeing biggest competition for the 747-8 is the number of older 747 still in service Besides engine woes, the 747-8 are 8 to 11 tons overweight, according to industry reports. Boeing has not confirmed that estimate. Additional weight is common in new planes but can reduce the distance a plane can fly or the amount of cargo it can carry, Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx The redesign wing for 747-8 has cause the wing to be 5000 to 6000 pound over wing this is causing the wing-vibration problem, which is also causing the aircraft tail to have a flutter problems, Boeing has discount the tail fuel tank which carry 3,300 gallon (at 6.84 pounds per gallons that 22,572 pounds of fuel in the tail time the arm and moment of aircraft center of gravity of the aircraft WEIGHT x ARM = MOMENT so 50 lbs could become 5000 lbs ) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/28/us-boeing-idUSTRE79R56W20111028 But the Headline news about Boeing speak for then self, cancelation, delay, production problems, the lack of management alone with the airline comment and aviation consultant statement Jim Proulx, a Boeing spokesman, said. There are ???no new issues??? with the aircraft, though the first ones to be delivered won???t meet performance guarantees, The dispute was later blamed on a shortfall in the performance of General Electric Co engines.
A350 IT WILL NOT MATERIALIZED TILL 2020, A380 WILL STOP PRODUCTION DUE TO LUCK OF ORDER, LIKE CONCORDE.
There seems to be some confusion about Airbus and its finances. It is well known in that Airbus is not really a profit making corporation but a consortium of several European governments. As such, its "books" are in effect not comparable to those of Boeing. In point of fact, Airbus has probably not made money on any of its planes except its narrow body A 320's. Going forward, Airbus has two problems. First, ever diminishing finances of the governments which own it . Second, the disastrous ill-conceived poorly executed A380. The problems with this plane are legion. In essence, the A380 is a big old technology plane which is too expensive to operate unless it flies full or nearly so. The problem for Airbus, especially in light of having lost the subsidy battle, is that it has committed its strategy to a white elephant, thereby leaving the door open for Boeing to bring out a much more fuel efficient and forward technology plane at a later date. Airlines know this. Hence, the feeble rate of A380 orders.
"Latest citation of the German Airbus-Chief Thomas Enders from 23th of July: "2014 oder 2015 werden wir Geld verdienen mit der A380" ...means Airbus will make profit from the A380 in 2014 or 2015." This is deceptive sales speak. It means the manufacturing process costs vs the selling price will reach a profitable position in 2014 04 15. However the development costs still need to be amortized and aren't included in the above. Airbus themselves predict that total project profitiability won't be reached until 400 units have been delivered, a total output that may take more than 20 years to achieve. And may never be acheived...
concerning mathill81's good point - yes, I wonder which will be easier, cheaper and more convenient to repair after a collision with a loader or some such accident - a plane where you can swap in a new panel and repair the old one in a workshop, or one you have to take into the hangar to repair the one piece fuselage?
@dwigthlooi You write: "The A380 will not be profitable in the next decade if ever" Latest citation of the German Airbus-Chief Thomas Enders from 23th of July: "2014 oder 2015 werden wir Geld verdienen mit der A380" ...means Airbus will make profit from the A380 in 2014 or 2015.
We have seen direct comparisons between the A350 and the 787, as well as between it and the 777. The fact is that both are valid, and both are slightly misleading. The A350 is between the 787 and 777 in size, albeit closer to the 777 than the 787. The baseline A350-900 -- the first version that will enter service -- seats 315 passengers (3-class). This is almost exactly the number of seats as the smaller 777 variant; the 777-200. The 270 seat A350-800 or the 350 seat A350-1000 are simply cutdown and stretched versions of the A350-900. At 270 seats the A350-800 matches the larger 787 (787-9) seat for seat. At 350 seats the A350-1000 is close to, but not quite as big as the 380 seat 777-300. The cabin width, again, is between the 777 and the 787. Airbus's strategy is to take on the 787 and the 777 with one aircraft. This is more economical from an investment and production standpoint than doing two separate aircrafts. However, the A350-800 compared to the 787 will be overweight and will not quite match the flexibility and economy of Boeing's smaller platform if the customer is looking for a smaller plane. On the other hand, the A350-1000 will not match the 777 in terms of range, passengers or payload even though it may be slightly more miserly on fuel. This is what happens when you try to lengthen or shorten an aircraft too much with the same wing. The 787 makes sense for Boeing because it already has a 777 in the upper range of the discussed spectrum. It hence can concentrate on making the best possible 220~270 seater. The 777 will either get redesigned or replaced to improve its competitiveness against the A350-1000 -- replacing the GE90 engines and re-winging will pretty much match the -1000, a new aircraft optimized for the 380 seat size class will exceed it. From a business standpoint, Boeing is in a slightly better situation. The 787 is sell very well and is already a profitable product, as is the 777. The 747-8 is not yet there, but it is very likely that it will at around 200~250 airframes and it is already half way there. Airbus is in a worse position because of the number of duds they have in the portfolio. The A380 will not be profitable in the next decade if ever -- it is not selling at all in the past couple of years and they need about 450 to break even. The A340-500/600 really ought to be cancelled for being completely out competed by the 777 (10:1 win ratio is pretty bad). The A330 is basically a sun setting product like the 767 and will be taken over by the A350. It is also doubtful that the A350 will match the total sales volume of the 787 and the 777 (or its replacement) which is the A350's mission.
Mathill81, I did not make up the A350-1000 comparison to the 747 - that's from Airbus. Further down in the post, I did say say the 747-8 will compete in the up to 440 seat aircraft market against the A350-1000. And indeed, it will as will 777-300er which can stuff in as many as 440 seats but typically tops out at 390 seats in a three class configuration. That said, I should have mentioned the 777 as an A350 competitor. It will be, but will be 15-year older technology than the A350. You added some good points, but my comparisons are correct. Danfrsc - I've covered the 787 ad nauseum...about time I covered Airbus, too.
You make some comparisons here that are not correct. First when comparing the A350-1000, you need to compare that to a 777-200LR or -300ER. The A350-1000 is not comparable to a 747-8I. The 747-8I is comparable to the A380, especially in terms of per seat mile cost, which is how airlines measure performance of airplanes. How about this comparison that you left off: The 787 is made from a single one-piece co-cured composite barrel, the A350 is using panelized skin construction similar to metal airplanes. One more comparison, not related to A350 vs 787, but A380 vs 747: The 747-8I can fly into every airport that currently supports 747s without expensive modifications to infrastructure.
Airbus will make a "profit" in accounting terms. It needs to deliver 450 planes to make a true Profit on the a380. The b787 will make a Profit after it delivers 1100 planes. The b787 has over 800 orders and will need 25% more orders to turn a profit (when it delivers the planes). Airbus needs 40% more orders to turn the profit.
We need competition or the industry will be uncompetitive and the Mongol hordes will invade... which in this case is the Russians and Chinese... plus the Japanese that the 787 program has educated and jump started in the commercial aircraft world.
The pressure hull of the 787 is made of four sections, the nose to just aft the cargo door, from there to the wings, from there to just forward of the rear cargo door then the tail. USA, Japan, Italy, USA in that order. If you do a google image search for "787 fuselage sections" you will see that the construction is extremely similar to the A350, they just made the joins in different directions, the 787 still has internal metal ribs. There were problems joining the first sections and later more problems with delamination of unshimmed joins on 787s. Not so simple to compare sizes, the larges 787-10 competes with the smaller A350s that people aren't ordering many of. The A350-1000 is similar in size to the 777-300 and 777-8X but well ahead on technology. The 777-9X is bigger than the A350-1000 by a good margin and close to the 747-8, which was already a hard sell against the 744 and the 773. At the high end the 747-8 doesn't compete with the A380 and there a good reasons the A380 wings look a little large, that's for the mid life stretch that will put it even further out of the reach of the 747-8. Boeing needs to step up their game.