United already has agreed to buy 25 of the mid-sized A350-900 variant under a 2009 deal that included 25 of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners. The 1000 model is larger with more capacity that would handle United’s long-haul routes.
‘A United order would help Toulouse, France-based Airbus in its effort to loosen Boeing’s grip on the market for large twin- aisle aircraft. Airbus had suffered cancellations and a four- year A350-1000 order drought until July. United has said it’s also looking at what Boeing will offer as a successor to its 777, the Chicago-based planemaker’s biggest two-engine model.
“This will be a big wake-up call for Boeing,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of Fairfax, Virginia-based consultant Teal Group. “There’s a big market emerging for the next-generation of the 777-300ER, and so far, Airbus is the only manufacturer with a firmly-launched new product.”’
Airbus says they will start delivering the A350 by 2017. By contrast, Boeing hasn’t committed to a firm date on its newest 777 variant, only saying they would start deliveries by the end of the decade.
‘A competition with Boeing would depend partly on how soon Airbus can free up delivery slots for the A350-1000 and how fast Boeing can develop the jet dubbed the 777-X, said two of the people. The A350-1000’s list price is $320.6 million, while a 777-X probably would command more than the 777-300ER’s $315 million. Jet buyers usually get discounts.’
Airbus has not commented on the report.