Monday, June 20, 2011

Rolls-Royce to develope higher thrust engine for A350-1000 as Airbus pushes the aircrafts EIS back to 2017

Airbus pushed back EIS for the A350-1000 to 2017 from 2015 and unveiled a modified -1000 model featuring a higher thrust variant of the Trent XWB engine being developed by Rolls-Royce. Additionally, the company delayed A350-800 EIS to 2016 from 2014.

Addressing reporters Monday at the Paris Air Show, COO-Customers John Leahy noted the manufacturer has had "pretty good" success with A350-900 and -800 orders but has seen "softness" in -1000 sales. Orders for the -900, with a 2013 EIS, total 359 while commitments for the -800 number 140. Orders for the -1000 total just 74 and airlines have been asking Airbus to "give us more performance" on the model, according to Leahy. Whereas the prior version of the A350-1000 fell short of matching the 777-300ER in terms of performance, the new version will "surpass" the Boeing aircraft, Leahy claimed.

Rolls said the new version of the Trent XWB will deliver 97,000 lbs. maximum thrust. "The additional thrust will be achieved by the inclusion of new high temperature turbine technology, increasing the size of the engine core and advanced fan aerodynamics," it said. "This will help Airbus to offer increased range and capacity for the A350-1000." Importantly, the engine's fan size will not change, meaning Airbus won't have to make significant fuselage modifications.

With the new version of the A350-1000, "we end up with 600 miles more range," Leahy said. "That's an extra hour of flying." Airbus Executive VP-A350 XWB Program-Didier Evrad added, "We have more time to optimize the [-1000] and the market can wait a little bit for this enhanced aircraft." He noted that Airbus expects the A350-1000's first flight to take place in 2016.

Meanwhile, Evrad said the manufacturer is "heading toward the final assembly line by the end of 2011" for the static test A350-900.

(Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

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