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Transportation

First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January 65

jones_supa writes The wait is finally over for aviation aficionados wanting to book a flight aboard the Airbus A350 XWB. Qatar Airways, the global launch customer of the plane, accepted delivery of their first A350 of 80 in order, during a ceremony at Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse, France, on Monday morning. This particular A350-900 will enter regular commercial service in January, operating daily flights between its Hamad International Airport hub in Doha, Qatar and Frankfurt, Germany. There are three different iterations of A350 XWB being built: the A350-800, the A350-900 and the A350-1000, which seat 270, 314 and 350 passengers, respectively, in three-class seating. The "XWB" in the name means "extra wide body." The A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer. Curious what it was like to be on the Tuesday delivery flight? Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren was onboard that flight and chronicled the landmark trip in photographs.
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First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January

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  • Boeing did the same thing starting at 787-8.

    Hopefully the A350 can make up for the anemic A380 sales [independent.co.uk].

    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday December 27, 2014 @05:02AM (#48679123) Journal

      Hopefully the A350 can make up for the anemic A380 sales

      The A380 is really huge. A lot of the long-haul flights that I've been on in the last couple of years haven't been full, even when they're the one flight of the day between two points and are on a plane with half of the capacity of the A380. It's a very economical plane to fly if you can fill it up, but if it's likely to be under half full then it's very expensive. The big-planes, infrequently model doesn't really work with the hub-and-spokes model popular in the USA, because it either needs more coordination with short-haul spoke routes, or layovers (and the cost of near-airport hotels means that these can often make it cheaper to book a different airline's flight).

      I flew on the 787 (LHR - IAH, both directions) for the first time this year and it was such a massive improvement over earlier models that I actually enjoyed flying for the first time in ages. Even in the cheap seats, there was lots of legroom, lots of overhead space (so you didn't feel cramped), the air pressure stayed good for the entire flight, the seats reclined comfortably without invading someone else's space. I managed to get more uninterrupted work done on the outbound flight than any other time over the surrounding few months. I'm really looking forward to airlines using similar craft on all long-haul routes.

      • by ADRA ( 37398 )

        If they don't sell seats (which really depends on how much they want to undercut to fill), they can always ship more cargo, which can actually be quite lucritive, though probably somewhere south of an economy ticket, but I don't know those details.

      • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday December 27, 2014 @06:35AM (#48679211)

        I'm afraid the airline chooses the seat pitch, seats and cabin layouts - its not the 787 giving you most of your experience there, its the airline.

      • by TBoon ( 1381891 )

        The big-planes, infrequently model doesn't really work with the hub-and-spokes model popular in the USA

        Also, apparently American airlines typically use revenue management software optimized for smaller aircrafts, compared to that used by European carriers. http://www.businessweek.com/ar... [businessweek.com]

      • A lot of the long-haul flights that I've been on in the last couple of years haven't been full

        Let me guess: You fly USA <=> Europe. Every USA <=> Asia flight I have been on the last two years has been 100% full.

        • Always Europe at one end, Asia or the USA at the other end. I've been on one or two full flights from the USA, but I've also been on one where everyone in economy plus had a row of 3 seats to themselves, though economy was packed. Flying ANA to Japan there were quite a few empty seats.
      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Hopefully the A350 can make up for the anemic A380 sales

        The A380 is really huge. A lot of the long-haul flights that I've been on in the last couple of years haven't been full, even when they're the one flight of the day between two points and are on a plane with half of the capacity of the A380. It's a very economical plane to fly if you can fill it up, but if it's likely to be under half full then it's very expensive.

        This has more to do with the way the US hub and spoke model is designed. If you travel between Europe and Asia or Asia and America the A380 is quite popular. Its taking over a lot of the routes that 747's were used for. QANTAS is replacing it's custom 747-ER aircraft with stock A380's for it's pacific routes.

        The A380 has a bigger issue that gates at older airports need to be upgraded to accommodate the A380. Despite this, Airbus have delivered 147 airframes since release. Its really the 747-8 that is flo

    • by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Saturday December 27, 2014 @06:43AM (#48679225)
      It's like processor performance ratings: AMD, er, Airbus PR800 -> 270, PR900 -> 314, and PR1000 -> 350. No doubt Boeing will roll out its own bCOMP index to rate its aircraft: Take the number of passengers, multiply by the number of engines, divide by the average delivery delay, multiply by the number of consonants in "Rolls-Royce Trent 1000", and you have the bCOMP index, which oddly enough works out slightly higher than the Airbus Performance Rating in all categories. I hear that Airbus are planning to overclock their engines in order to get higher numbers than Boeing for their next release...
    • by Aviation Pete ( 252403 ) on Saturday December 27, 2014 @07:09AM (#48679287)
      It's the same reason why the A-380 did not become the A-350. 350 would have been the next number in the sequence.

      The reason is Chinese superstition. 8 is a lucky number in Chinese, because the sign for 8 shows two triangles pointing up. By the way, 4 is considered an unlucky number in China because it sounds similar to the word for death. Since most customers for both Airbus and Boeing are assumed to be in East Asia, their marketing departments put eights into their newest products wherever they can. The newest version of the 747 is called 747-8.

      Do you spot a pattern?

  • by jemmyw ( 624065 )

    We're so weird about planes. If the local bus company got a new bus we wouldn't be rushing down for a demo ride.

    Airlines have an interest I'm sure, as the service does effect who I'd travel with. Bit that is only one ends to a means.

  • Close and don't show me this again damnit!
  • Why does Qatar need 80 new planes, let alone 80 planes? The land mass of Qatar is 4,468 sq miles. That's about 67 miles on a side if you make is a square. If you evenly place these 80 new planes along the border of Qatar, there would be one every 3.3 miles. If these planes were taxiing around the border at the standard 30mph, and you stood there, one would pass you every 6.6 minutes.

    I see. Border patrol.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just here to spread a little FUD... I did a ton of engineering work on another one of EADS' fine products, the AS350 "A Star".

    Now, granted, that's rotary-wing, and it's another division, but... trust me on this, guys, the electrical system was seriously lacking. Cartridge fuses, for one. Say the hydraulics go out. You have to unscrew the fuse holder, find a replacement on this little holder in the footwell (there's one on either side, a bit lower than the knee), make sure it's the right one, and screw it ba

    • by sr180 ( 700526 )

      Now, granted, that's rotary-wing, and it's another division, but... trust me on this, guys, the electrical system was seriously lacking. Cartridge fuses, for one. Say the hydraulics go out. You have to unscrew the fuse holder, find a replacement on this little holder in the footwell (there's one on either side, a bit lower than the knee), make sure it's the right one, and screw it back in. God help you if it's a real emergency and you don't have time to do all that.

      It still makes sense. In an AS350, and hydraulics fails in a single pilot situation (almost all of them except for training given the aircraft), you don't have the time or the available hands to do any diagnosis. You'll be hands full on the controls, landing and diagnosing on the ground. Their engineering decisions were based to match the aircraft and the operations at the time. Its a reasonably old airframe now but still more capable than anything their opposition offer.

      Furthermore, its not a real AS350 u

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Generally, the rule of thumb is, if you can't live without it, you are allowed one reset of the circuit breaker. Either it immediately re-trips, or it starts working again and you have some time to plan an emergency landing.

      Actually, that rule has changed. If the breaker has tripped for ANY reason, DO NOT RESET IT. If it wasn't essential to the flight, continue on. If it was, land ASAP.

      Get on the ground, then have maintenance figure it out.

      It tripped for a reason, and if it was because of a circuit short, d

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