Airbus chief commercial officer Christian Scherer believes a 10-abreast configuration for the A350-1000 would mean the variant would be “uncatchable” by the rival Boeing 777-9.

While Airbus has focused on a nine-abreast cabin for the A350 and scorned Boeing’s use of a 10-abreast layout in per-seat economic calculations, Scherer has increasingly indicated that the A350 could adopt a similar configuration.

Speaking during a 14 June briefing ahead of the Paris air show, Scherer mentioned “a number of initiatives that we can demonstrate now” giving airlines the ability to put 17in seats in a 10-abreast layout within the A350 cabin.

This would enable the aircraft to be “just as large” as the 777-9 in terms of passenger capacity, he says, adding that a 10-abreast A350 “is unbeatable” compared with a 10-abreast 777.

Scherer also stressed that an A350-1000 operating from “deep in Asia” to the USA has a weight advantage over the 777, with a 35t lower structural weight enabling it to carry 10t less fuel – pointing out that the overall 45t effectively amounts to the total payload of the 777.

To match the same cost as a 400-passenger A350-1000, he says, the 777-9 would “have to fly empty”, adding: “That’s the power of this new technology on the long range sectors.”

Source: Cirium Dashboard