By the time the brand-new
) A350-900 XWB (Extra Wide Body) aircraft was up in the air
Wednesday for its second test flight during the 50th anniversary
Show at Le Bourget
The Boeing Company
) had already announced its answer to this supposed emerging
threat: the 787-10, which is the third member of Boeing's
fuel-efficient family of Dreamliners.
It's no surprise that
instead of running scared
, Boeing accepted the latest challenge in yet another leg of the
race with its all-time rival. "As we say in America, game on now,"
Jim McNerney, Boeing CEO, said in an interview with
. He also said that Boeing is ahead of the competition in terms of
, a new carrier in Airbus's wide-body family, is an attempt to hit
the sweet spot of fuel-efficient jets that serve medium- to
long-haul operations; it competes with both Boeing 777 and 787
planes. Depending on the modification, A350s are capable of flying
270 to 350 passengers (in typical 3-class seating) 8,100-8,500
nautical miles (nm).
This craft will compete mainly with Boeing's 777-200ER (301
passengers, 7,725 nm), the upcoming Dreamliner 787-9 (250-290
passengers, 8,000-8,500 nm range), and the freshest addition to the
family, the 787-10. The 787-10s will be capable of getting 300-330
passengers to destinations within 7,000 nm. Boeing
introduced the biggest Dreamliner to date
on Tuesday, with initial airline commitments of 102 planes.
"The 787-10 is 25% more efficient than airplanes of its size today
and more than 10% better than anything being offered by the
competition for the future," said Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing
However, Boeing does not expect to deliver its first 787-10 until
2018 and will not deliver its first 787-9 jet until early 2014. If
A350 flight tests go as planned, the first A350-900 will be
delivered to the launch customer, Qatar Airways, in late 2014.
Just tweaking the Dreamliners might not be enough for Boeing to
stay ahead of the competition, however. The company's CEO
touted the launch
refurbished 777 ("777X") line-up
by the end of 2013. He said that the company is now in talks with
airlines to finalize their orders.
Boeing has a solid lead in terms of demand thus far. Even if 777s
are not taken into account, the company boasts around 990 orders of
Dreamliner family planes, compared to more than 660 orders and
options on A350s.
The Plane That Airbus Was Reluctant to Build
Could Have the Boeing Company Running Scared