Airbus S.E. continues to record new orders for its A350 wide-body aircraft series, following the decision last month to phase out the earlier, larger A380 series. The latest order is an estimated $6-billion contract for 17 aircraft from a Taiwanese start-up carrier, STARLUX Airlines. The order includes 12 A350-1000s and five A350-900s.
The A350 XWB is a widebody aircraft, available in configurations for 300 to over 400 passengers, and available for long-distance service on routes up to 9,700 nm (17,960 km.) Airbus also emphasizes the fuel efficiency of the A350 XWB, based on its updated aerodynamics, carbon-fiber fuselage and wing structures, and the twin Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
STARLUX is due to begin service next year from Taipei to destinations in southeast and northeast Asia, and indicates eventually it will add routes to North America. According to Airbus, European routes also are expected.
Last year, the new carrier also ordered 10 Airbus A320 narrow-body jets.
“We are very glad to sign the official purchase agreement today for Airbus wide-bodies. The A350’s combination of extra-long-range capability, significantly lower operating costs, and high passenger comfort were key factors in our decision,” stated STARLUS founder and chairman, K.W. Chang.
He added: “STARLUX is committed to becoming one of the best airlines in the world. We are positive that with the A350 XWB, we will be able to spread our wings to further destinations, bringing our best-in-class services to more people over the world in the near future.”
Since announcing the end of the A380 series, Airbus has recorded a $21.4-billion order for A350s from Emirates Airline and a $12-billion order from Lufthansa.
Reportedly, Airbus is soon to confirm a $35-billion order from Chinese carriers, a deal that includes several narrow-body and wide-body aircraft, and carries implications for U.S.-China trade controversies.
Through February, the A350 XWB series had drawn 852 firm orders from 48 customers since the announced redesign of the A350 in 2006.