February 20, 2018 / 11:36 AM / in a year

Airbus sees no demand for bigger A350 for now

TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - Airbus is not planning a larger A350 jet and will focus on developing existing versions of the widebody aircraft, an executive said on Tuesday.

A scale model of an Airbus A350 is pictured during Airbus annual press conference on the 2017 financial results in Blagnac near Toulouse, France, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

Last summer, the European planemaker shelved tentative plans for a bigger A350 that would compete more directly with Boeing’s new 777X plane currently under development.

“For the time being there are no plans. We don’t see the need,” Marisa Lucas-Ugena, head of A350 XWB Marketing, told Reuters in Toulouse.

She did not say what could create demand for a larger version.

However, she added that while the A380 - the world’s largest passenger jet - fills the need for high density routes, there was still a “huge gap” between that model and the A350-1000, the largest of the A350 family.

Lucas-Ugena earlier told reporters that Airbus remained focused on its existing A350-900 and A350-1000 jets.

The A350-900, which was originally marketed for 317 passengers, now holds 325 in standard layout. The A350-1000 seats 366 passengers in a typical arrangement.

“We are extremely well placed on that part of the market with these two airplanes,” Lucas-Ugena told Reuters.

The A350-1000 was launched to compete against Boeing’s 777s in the up to 400-seat market. Boeing is aiming to deliver the newer 777x version in 2020.

Lucas-Ugena was speaking to reporters ahead of the first ever A350-1000 delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways.

The Gulf carrier has ordered 37 A350-1000s.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Mark Potter

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