According to The Seattle Times, Airbus will announce a more powerful engine for its A350-1000 at the Paris Air Show in two weeks putting it in direct competition with one of Boeing’s most popular planes, the 777-300ER.
The A350 is Airbus’ response to both the 787 Dreamliner which will debut by the end of the summer with launch customer All Nippon Airways, and the 777, Boeing’s most popular widebody plane. The A350 is still in development and won’t launch for at least two years but an extended range version, the A350-1000 would help Airbus in offering a product that would better compete with the 777-300ER which has become the most popular 777 variant for Boeing.
According to the report, the move comes as customers, notably Emirates, have been pushing Airbus to offer a plane that can travel farther distances with more passengers.
The move would push the launch of the A350-1000 variant into 2016, giving Boeing a nice five year cushion but also putting pressure on the American planemaker to update the 777, a plane which was been in service for over 16 years.