February 2005 
Volume 03, Issue 9 
Industry Wrap

Airbus gets approval for A350 jet

Airbus received approval from owners European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. and BAE Systems PLC on Dec. 10 to start taking orders for the A350, a new midsized passenger plane that will compete with Boeing's 7E7, reported The Associated Press. Airbus said on Dec. 21 that Spanish airline Air Europa was the first to commit to the new jet, signing a memorandum of understanding to buy 10 planes with options on two more. Airbus expects orders for at least 50 jets by mid-2005.

The A350 will have the same cockpit and similar onboard systems as its existing A330 jet but will weigh 8.8 U.S. tons less, allowing for its heavier engines, which initially will be supplied by General Electric Co.

Airbus said the A350 will enter service in the first half of 2010 in two configurations. The longer-range version will have a range of 8,600 nautical miles with 245 passengers in a three-class cabin.

Airbus expects to spend about $5.3 billion to develop and produce the A350, the AP reported. According to the Financial Times, Airbus CEO Noël Forgeard said the company has applied to four European governments for launch aid totalling around 1 billion Euros (about $1.3 billion) to help finance the airplane's development.

Separately, Airbus unveiled its A380 airplane last month at its factory in Toulouse, France. The company showed off the new airplane amid reports that the airplane project is 1.45 billion Euros ($1.9 billion) over budget and is battling a weight problem that threatens to undermine its performance.


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