Airbus A350 XWB launches with Rolls-Royce

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The Board of Directors of EADS has given Airbus the go-ahead for the industrial launch of the A350 XWB family, a medium capacity long-range extra wide-body aircraft. Entry into service of the first A350 XWB is planned for 2013.

The A350 XWB will be available in three basic passenger versions, the A350-800 which can fly 270 passengers up to 15,750km, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 which is designed for 350, both with ranges of up to 15,400km. The three passenger versions have a cruise speed of Mach 0.85.

Specialist variants are the ultra long-range A350-900R and freighter version, the A350-900F.

Rolls-Royce has signed a commercial and technical agreement with Airbus under which a next-generation Trent engine will be offered for all variants of the A350 XWB twinjet.

The Trent XWB will provide a range of thrusts from 75,000lb to 95,000lb to power all versions of the A350 XWB using the same three-shaft architecture as its Trent predecessors. Noise and emissions reduction technology will ensure that the engine meets all current and proposed environmental legislation with significant margins.

To achieve fuel efficiency, the new A350 XWB will feature Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) panelled fuselage skins. This makes the aircraft parts easier to maintain and repair while optimising the stress and load requirements of each individual airframe part. Over 60 per cent of the airframe will be made of new materials.

The fly-by-wire A350 XWB will have common handling and flight deck operation, allowing cross crew qualification and mixed fleet flying.