Boeing and Airbus have a long history of healthy (and not-so-healthy) competition. The success of Boeing’s twin-engine 777 made it economically infeasible for airlines to operate the 4-engine Airbus A340. It took Airbus a while, but they finally stopped taking orders for the plane in 2011 due to lack of demand.
The A350 was/is Airbus’ answer to the Boeing 787. It’s been on the drawing board for almost 10 years now and it’s much closer to reality. There’s a good Wikipedia page with particulars on the A350 and some marketing material on the Airbus site as well. The plane is reported to carry 250-350 passengers in various configurations which is roughly on par with the 787-8 and -9.
The A350 uses some of the same innovations such as composite materials in the fuselage, though recently Airbus has said they changed their mind and won’t use the lithium ion batteries that have caused recent issues with the 787.
I got these pictures from a good friend earlier today and it’s an interesting looking plane. The wingtips look more advanced, and it’s weird to see a plane without engines being towed around.
I’ll always be a Boeing guy. Heck, I have a bumper sticker in my office that says, “If It’s Not Boeing, I’m Not Going.” But, as an aviation enthusiast, there’s still a bit of eye candy here.
Updated: I had a typo when I posted this at first saying the 757 was the plane that caused the A340 to be obsolete. It was the 777. Corrected above.