APEX: Airbus unveils A350 performance, Airspace cabin enhancements

Airbus A350 enhancements
Credit: Airbus

Airbus has introduced new A350 performance gains combined with various Airspace cabin enhancements that “reinforces the A350 family’s position as the most sustainable large widebody today.” 

Unveiled at the APEX/IFSA EXPO in Long Beach, California, Airbus VP-cabin marketing Ingo Wuggetzer said the enhancements include weight savings of up to 1.2 metric tonnes, improved take-off performance, and increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) capability.

According to Airbus, the weight savings was achieved by optimizing systems, structures and installations on various areas of the aircraft. The OEM is also increasing the use of advanced materials such as carbon fiber to further reduce weight. 

Overall, Airbus said the take-off weight improvements for the newest A350s would occur at around 50 airports currently operated by widebody aircraft. 

“Airbus has also increased MTOW capabilities (now up to 283t for the A350-900 and 319t for the A350-1000) allowing them to maintain their respective maximum range capabilities, beyond 8,000nm, while carrying greater revenue payload than before,” the Toulouse-based manufacturer said.

In addition, Wuggetzer said the company has made the Airspace cabin four inches wider and 35 inches longer. As a result, he said that “airlines have potential to offer greater privacy in premium cabins and can choose between the current nine- or 10-abreast configurations in economy.”
With nine seats across, the width would be 18.7 inches, which Airbus said is “verging into economy plus”; 10-abreast seating would be a 3-4-3 configuration and width an industry-standard 17 inches.

The 10-abreast offering could enable airlines to accommodate approximately 30 additional seats, in a typical three-class layout on new A350-900s and the A350-1000s,” Airbus said.

Also, Wuggetzer announced Airbus is now offering electro dimmable windows (EDWs), which block 99.99% of visible light, to allow passengers to sleep better.

Compared with previous designs, the latest generation of EDWs, developed by Gentex, he said they “darken twice as fast and become 100 times darker than the original version.” Taipei-headquartered Starlux Airlines is the first operator to select EDWs for its newly delivered A350 aircraft.

Additionally, Wuggetzer said the Airspace cabin concept will become standard for the A321 XLR by 2024.

He said the latest Airspace delivery to a US airline has been to Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Korean Air will be Asia’s A321neo Airspace launch customer.

Linda Blachly

Linda Blachly is Senior Associate Editor for Air Transport World and Aviation Week. She joined the company in July 2010 and is responsible for producing features for Air Transport World’s monthly magazine and engaging content for the aviationweek.com. She is based in the Washington DC office.