Airbus, Boeing prep new passenger-packing jets

By David Flynn, January 25 2017
Airbus, Boeing prep new passenger-packing jets

Airbus and Boeing are readying a new generation of jets designed to carry even more passengers from point A to point B.

However, the trade-off is that these super-sized versions of the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 will fly shorter distances than their smaller siblings.

At a time when many airlines are embracing long-range non-stop flights, the new A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner wind back the range in exchange for fitting more passengers into a longer fuselage.

How many more? Up to 440 cosy travellers, in the case of the Airbus A350-1000.

Higher headcounts

The models on which these new stretchjets are based – the Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-9 – have a maximum reach of 14,000km to 15,000km and carry around 300 passengers, depending on how each airline chooses to configure the jets.

For example, the Qantas Boeing 787-9 – which will take wing in October this year – will accommodate just 236 passengers across business class, premium economy and economy cabins – one of the world's least-squeezy Dreamliner layouts – while Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 manages a headcount of 302 across the same three cabin classes.

The Boeing 787-10 ups the count to some 330 passengers over two cabin classes, with a maximum range of 11,900km.

Singapore Airlines is Boeing's worldwide launch customer for the 787-10, which will take to the skies in the second half of 2018 and feature the airline's new business class seating.

Airbus will beat Boeing to the punch with its A350-1000, which debuts in the later half of this year.

The A350-1000 seats a total of 366 passengers "in a standard three-class configuration", Airbus says – while an optional "higher-density layout (can) accommodate up to 440 passengers."

By comparison, the manufacturer's three-class spec for the A350-900 is 325 passengers.

In its favour, the 14,700km range of the A350-1000 is close the 15,000km available in the A350-900.

Qatar Airways will be first to fly the A350-1000 and also fit it out with an all-new business class design – in this case the hyped 'super business class' suites.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 135

i wonder if qantas sees the 787-10 as a potential replacement for the A330 on international routes

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Qantas' most recent plan has been to replace all Airbus A330s (international and domestic) with Boing 787-9s, which could be done if Qantas pulls the trigger on the full complement of 45 orders & options for the Dreamliner.

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 135

which won't happen unless the 8 787's make a profit (which alan joyce said himself), which we won't know for a few more years yet. 

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 390

When is the last opportunity to confirm orders for more 787s? Mid 2018/early 2019?

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621


"..wonder if qantas sees the 787-10 as a potential replacement for the A330 on international routes..."
Most likely 1 of the top 3 candidates.  The other 2 would be 789 and 339(i.e. 330-900Neo).  All 3 will be significantly more fuel efficient than 333.  As a potential replacement for 333 in QF fleet(no idea how QF will address 332 replacement) to deploy on routes within 10hrs sector duration(i.e. the actual mission limit of QF's 333), key pros & cons of each type no doubt being evaluated by QF fleet planners:

- In equal config, has practically the same seat count as the surplus capacity risk.
- Extreme deployment flexibility across the shortest(e.g. SYD-CGK below 8hrs) and the longest(e.g. PER-LHR beyond 16hrs) QF longhaul routes.
- 100% op & maintenance commonality with 789s already in the fleet.
- Basically 'abusing' a design optimized for ULH missions when  deploying on many current QF 333 routes which are within 9hrs.
- On sectors within 8-9hrs, fuel burn advantage over 339 is no more than single digit %.
- In reality after typical discount(as opposed to list price), significantly more pricey than 339.



- In equal config, same seat count as the surplus capacity risk.

- Design is optimized for missions upto 8-12hrs...almost exactly where QF has been using 333.

- About 75% op & maintenance commonality with 333 already in QF  fleet.

- In reality after typical discount, much cheaper to acquire than 789 or 78J(i.e. 787-10).


- Least fuel efficient of the 3 candidates.

- Useless for QF missions beyond 12hrs(e.g. Trans-Pcf is out of question)..lower deployment flexibility.

- Platform is based on tech developed in the late 80s...nearly 2 decades older than the other 2 candidates.

- In equal config, about 10% higher seat count than 333...ideal to grow seat supply in airport slot restricted scenarios.
- Design is optimized for missions upto 8-12hrs...almost exactly where QF has been using 333.
- The most fuel efficient among the 3 candidates...especially for missions upto 8-12hrs where advantage over the 339 is @ least 10-15%.
- Nearly 95% op & maintenance commonality with 789 already in QF fleet.
- Higher seat count than 333....surplus capacity risk.
- Useless for QF missions beyond 12hrs..lower deployment flex.
- Even more pricey than the 789 in reality, let alone the 339.

IMHO, none is a clear winner @ this stage in the QF 333 replacement race....

27 Jan 2017

Total posts 5

I personally believe that Qantas will order some 787-10's into their 787 fleet just as they ordered A330-300's into their A330-200 fleet years gone by. But I also believe that they'll negotiate with Airbus to flip the remaining eight A380-800's they have on order into A350-1000's.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

21 Jan 2016

Total posts 193

I am curious, why are Boeing and Airbus are revamping their B777's and A330's to be next 'generation' when the current next 'generation' of aircraft B787 and A350 families are in essence the B777 and A330 replacements.

Currently airlines are investing heavily in 787's and A350's, are they going to have the cash to invest in the next generation of B777 and A330. Looking at lagging sales on the B747-8i is surely is the sign of things to come for the  revamp B777 and A330's? Even the forward sales of the A380 are low, as most airlines move from 'Spoke & Hub' to 'Point 2 Point' models. Most passengers like 'Point to Point' travel.

Airbus is ahead of Boeing in regards to the current family of the A350 being the A350-900, A350-900ULR and the A350-1000. Boeing has B787-8, B787-9 and B787-10. As yet Boeing doesn't have a B787-9ER version.

With regards to David's comment about QF 789's with 236 passengers and NZ's B789's 302 passengers, QF wants to fly longer 'Point 2 Point' travel as oppose to NZ current policy of medium to long haul. QF could in the future purchases of the  789 use the standard configuration that most airlines are using.

NZ still has 6 options on the 789's so NZ could convert these options to another three 789's using 236 passenger configuration and 3 787-10's to replace the B773's

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 121

The 777 is a larger aircraft than the 787. In terms of the A330, it is a cheaper airframe that didn't cost a lot to modify and is cheaper overall to sell to airlines than the A350. Suits operators which operate shorter flights (ie Dom) better. 

Different size classes. 787 is A330neo competitor, A350-1000 is 777X competitor.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1521

Hi David,
In the beginning of the article it stated that A350-900 can do 14k while at the end 15k. One statement definitelly wrong :-)

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Hi Serg: nope. Earliest par provides a common range reference for both the A350-900 and 787-9 ("a maximum reach of 14,000km to 15,000km," Boeing being the 14k and the Airbus being the 15k).


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1521

Ah, OK. But it looks confusing though - I naturally allocate 14k to A350 and 15k to 787 :-)


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1422

I suspect David that QF will replace the A330s from 2022 with 787-10s as the economics is so much better for the under 12 hour flights that QF does in the region.  There is still plenty of time for it to change its mind, or it could order some to replace the 747s on the Tokyo/HK route earlier.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

They may indeed do so, and arguably that could make much sense, but all we know right now is that the 787-9s are to replace the A330s.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

I believe the new A330neo is aimed for the budget Airlines, as it doesn't have all those fancy bells and whistles e.g. lower cabin pressure and more humid cabin, therefore less money wasted on those things that they do not want, like I guess it has already been demonstrated with Air Asia buying I thing 50ish of them off the top of my head, and then the A350 and 787 are for full service, well I could be wrong though as many budget airlines have opted for the 787. Just my thoughts.


25 Feb 2014

Total posts 20

Really @AUSBT - "The QF787– will accommodate just 236 passengers across business class, premium economy and economy cabins – one of the world's least-squeezy Dreamliner layouts – while Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9 manages a headcount of 302 across the same three cabin classes"

The facts are that QF have configured their 787 for ULR PER-LON so are capacity heavy in Business and Premium pax with smaller Y layout - If QF only utilized the the first cabin for Business and Prem Y (Like NZ does) combined then it would be the exact same capacity - Please stop just repeating QF PR and maybe start publishing an honest comparison for once.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

24 Feb 2016

Total posts 18

Comment removed by moderator [reason: off-topic. Discussion about Qantas' Boeing 787-9 economy seats can be made in our Community discussion area]

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Brett: you've missed the point of that par, which was simply to illustrate the difference in capacity for identical aircraft. It's necessary to establish a baseline of capacity for the 787-9 in order to give context to the increased Boeing-quoted capacity of the 787-10. We chose to do so by citing both a low-count capacity and a higher count, both in three-class configs and using airlines which our readers would be familiar. That's all there is to it.

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

Comment removed by moderator [reason: off-topic]

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Readers are reminded to keep comments on topic and directly related to the Airbus A350-1000 and Boeing 787-10. Other topics can be posted in our Community discussions section.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 167

Interested to see if QF end up opting for the 777x or A350 as their longer term A380 and B747 replacements. These new classes of plane bring in so many more possibilities for airlines as well as for passengers. The options ex-AU of the 787 and A380 are already fantastic, with more A350s coming in hopefully over the next few years.


03 May 2013

Total posts 673

I hope they over soundproof the A350's as they have A380's. I just flew on  789 for first time and while a great aircraft and flight, not quite as comfortable as the A380. The lack of engine and wind noise in the A380 makes LH & ULH flying much more pleasurable(coupled with higher humidity and lower altitude settings)

22 Jun 2016

Total posts 16

Interesting observations by regular readers of this site.

A question to all.Other than the Arab States who are spending huge bucks to establish an after "Oil" economy through tourism, which other Airlines/countries are really interested in long haul flights; sure, Aus, N.Z, and the likes of SIA, will look at these extra klm's on offer, but not on Europe or U.S. Flights, or China's huge people moving machine. 
It has to have a hub busting distance to make these long haul airframes, that contain costs, and can deliver as advertised.

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