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Boeing’s 777X and Airbus’ A350 fiercely view for sky supremacy, in a high-stakes battle for the lucrative long-haul market.
In the race for sky supremacy, Boeing’s highly anticipated 777X is poised to make a grand entrance.
This massive wide-body aircraft aspires to surpass its popular predecessor, the Boeing 777, and dominate the long-haul market.
However, it faces a formidable opponent in the Airbus A350, an aircraft that took the industry by storm since its introduction in 2013.
Boasting a record-breaking 72.80-metre wingspan and an impressive 516.70 square metres of wing area, the Boeing 777X stands as the world’s largest twin-engine aircraft, delivering a total thrust of 210,000 pound-force (934 kN) and an extended flight range of 7,290 nautical miles (13,500 kilometres).
The aircraft set to enter service by 2025 promises unparalleled fuel efficiency, increased capacity, and overall enhanced performance.
On the other side of the ring, the Airbus A350 proudly holds the title of the European manufacturer’s largest wide-body airliner since the discontinuation of its flagship A380 model in 2021.
With a wingspan of 64.75 meters and a total wing area of 443 square meters, the A350 offers a total thrust power of 194,200 pound-force (864 kN) and an extensive range of 7,992 nautical miles (14,800 kilometres).
Constructed primarily from composite materials, the A350 is the lightest wide-body aircraft to date, delivering up to 25% savings on operating costs and boasting exceptional efficiency according to Airbus. Since its debut in 2015, over 530 A350 jets have been delivered to airline customers.
The Boeing 777X incorporates a plethora of improvements inherited from its predecessor, the 777, as well as the popular 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
With composite materials utilised in its wing construction, the 777X claims the title of the commercial passenger aircraft with the widest wingspan. Moreover, its progressive folding wingtips allow the aircraft to fit into a smaller size category, providing increased flexibility in airport selection.
The GE Aerospace GE9X High bypass turbofan exclusively designed for the 777X is the largest and most powerful commercial aircraft engine ever built, incorporating advanced technologies that enable greater efficiency, reduced noise levels, and fewer emissions.
The aircraft’s wingtip design, vast wingspan, and all-new engines contribute significantly to increased fuel savings and enhanced efficiency. Inspired by the 787 Dreamliner, the 777X promises a wide cabin, large windows, optimised pressurisation, mood lighting, and improved architecture, ensuring a supremely comfortable passenger experience.
On the other hand, the Airbus A350’s airframe comprises 53% composite materials, offering a lighter and more durable alternative to traditional aluminium counterparts. The A350’s wings incorporate a unique flapping mechanism to reduce drag and lower fuel consumption.
Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines, exclusively designed to power the A350, deliver superior performance and fuel efficiency compared to competitors in the market. Equipped with 68 high-pressure turbine blades, these engines generate a staggering 50,000 horsepower and save over $2.9 million per year on fuel costs per aircraft.
Using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Airbus was able to optimise the A350’s external shape for minimum drag, ensuring optimal aerodynamics.
Over and above, the aircraft features an advanced combination of air conditioning, mood lighting, and intelligent pressurisation to reduce jetlag, with spacious cabins and ample storage space to enhance the customer experience.
In a two-class configuration, the Airbus A350 accommodates between 315 and 369 passengers, with a maximum capacity of 440 passengers on the A350-900 variant and 480 passengers for the A350-1000.
Meanwhile, the Boeing 777X is expected to feature 384 seats on the 777-8 and 426 seats on the 777-9, in a two-class configuration.
Economy Class on the A350 typically follows a standard nine-abreast configuration with 18-inch seats, while the 777X is set to feature a 10-abreast Economy cabin in a 3-4-3 configuration, similar to the current 777 models.
Cargo capacity and cost
In terms of cargo capacity, the A350-1000 offers a payload of 68 tonnes and can accommodate 44 LD3 containers, while the A350-900 model has a payload of 53.3 tonnes and accommodates 36 LD3 containers.
Comparatively, the 777-9 boasts a cargo capacity of 48 LD3 containers. The A350-1000’s maximum takeoff weight is 316 tonnes (696,661 lbs), while the Boeing 777-9 weighs 181.4 tonnes (400,000 lbs) with a maximum takeoff weight of 351.5 tonnes (775,000 lbs).
Currently, the A350-1000 is listed at $366.5 million, while the A350-900 stands at $317.4 million. Meanwhile, the Boeing 777X is valued at $442.2 million for the 777-9 model and $410.2 million for the 777-8. While the final sale price depends on various factors such as order size, the 777X clearly carries a higher price tag compared to the A350.
The 777-9 boasts a fuel capacity of 350,410 lbs, enabling a maximum range of 7,285 nautical miles. This translates to an approximate fuel burn of 48 lbs per nautical mile.
In contrast, the A350-1000 has a fuel capacity of 274,808 lbs, offering a maximum range of 8,700 nautical miles and a fuel burn of approximately 32 lbs per nautical mile.
In this fierce battle between aviation titans, both the Boeing 777X and the Airbus A350 showcase their exceptional capabilities and groundbreaking technologies.
While the 777X offers unrivalled dimensions, advanced materials, and cutting-edge engine technology, the A350 shines with its lightweight composite airframe, advanced aerodynamics, and superior fuel efficiency.
Ultimately, the choice between these giants will depend on the specific needs and preferences of airlines seeking to dominate the long-haul market.
Credit: The Aviator Middle EastGoogle+