Airbus eyes Emirates, Etihad, Qatar for ultra long-range A350

By David Flynn, November 11 2015
Airbus eyes Emirates, Etihad, Qatar for ultra long-range A350

Airbus has tipped Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways as likely buyers of its A350-900 ultra-long range jet, which can fly for up to 19 hours at a stretch.

The long-legged A350-900ULR would unlock a raft of new non-stop routes for the three Gulf powerhouse airlines, although those flights would carry around far fewer passengers as a conventional jet to help reduce weight and boost range.

Singapore Airlines has already ordered seven of the 900ULR jetliners, the first of which will be used to restart non-stop flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York in 2018.

But whereas SQ's standard A350-900 aircraft will carry just over 250 passengers, the 900ULR version will be fitted with around 170 seats – and the mix is expected to lean towards the premium cabins of first and business class rather than predominately economy class.

Emirates, Etihad and Qatar could well join the Singaporean flag-carrier, reports Gulf News.

"There will be a lot of appetite for that aircraft," Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy remarked to the media during this week's Dubai Airshow, adding that "right now, we’re talking to several customers."

New jets like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-9 are allowing airlines to redraw their network map to launch new time-saving routes without a halfway stop-over to refuel.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has already called out “long-range routes that we don’t fly today” as a prime example of flights made possible with the airline's forthcoming fleet of Boeing 787s. 

Joyce sees plenty of appeal in mapping the Boeing 787 onto “routes that we want to fly over a hub and go directly into other destinations without having to fly through LA", as well as direct flights from Australia's west coast into Europe and possibly London.

Read more: Where will Qantas fly its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners?

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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.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1022

QF still has 8 A380 orders they could convert...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 387

AJ I think will be after the B777-8. He has spoken of that aircraft many times in interviews etc

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

The gulf carriers jumped for the 777-8 with that having a rather large range and a much larger seat capacity. 


13 Jun 2015

Total posts 140

Qatar & Etihad should purchase A350-900ULR. They need to develop new routes like AUH - Auckland, Santiago and Doha - Mexico City, Auckland, Caracas. Emirates wouldn't purchase A359ULR as they have orders for the B777-8 and -9X.

Lufthansa - Miles & More

29 Jul 2014

Total posts 182

Qatar and Etihad both have the 777-8 on order as well and Etihad is betting bigger on the 787 than the a350 like Qantas 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 506

I am pretty sure they would have ordered them if they saw the need for such aircraft.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

Not sure why.. because EK, EY and QR have orders of 777-XXX with the aim to replace some of the 773 and 380s. Already Boeing had this LR on plans before SQ asked for it... EK, LH, QR and EY had this LR flights on their plans to compete globally and Boeing was planning for that... SQ has decided to work with Airbus closer for some reasons... and we know what reasons are...Also, in the rush SQ wanted this route back soon that 2020`s  with a much smaller plane then 77X and much cheapper.. probably we will see them changed to 77X on 2020`s

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