Airbus is launching ACJ350 XWB – the corporate jet version of its popular, highly-publicized A350 XWB airliner. The company said in a press release that the ultra-long range variant of the ACJ350 can carry 25 passengers for up to 10,800 nautical miles, or 22 hours. In addition to the added space, the modification getting the most attention is the mechanism Airbus has developed that allows the ACJ350 to be customized without damaging the composite fuselage made by Spirit AeroSystems.
As part of its signature “Easyfit” technology, the ACJ350 will feature a number of factory-fitted attachment points where dividing walls and bulkheads can be secured later to meet customer specifications.
As Bloomberg explains, the approach does away with the need for the drilling of hundreds of holes, which is a straightforward process with traditional aluminum fuselages but problematic with modern carbon fiber fuselages featuring layers of laminate that split in different directions. Airbus says it has worked extensively with several cabin outfitters to ensure smooth completions for customers.
“One of Airbus’s greatest strengths is to offer customers the world’s most modern and efficient aircraft family, and the ACJ350 with Easyfit expands its corporate jet offering, giving customers a new way to take their business to the world,” says Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers John Leahy. “Our customers want the best and most modern aircraft that money can buy, and the ACJ350 exemplifies that,” he adds.
Boeing’s competitor to the ACJ350 is the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) 787-9, which Matt Wollaston, VP of completion, sales and marketing at Boeing, represents the “next generation of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic.”
Airline deliveries of the Airbus A350-900 began in December 2014. Together with the A350-1000 version, currently in development and projected to enter airline service in 2017, the family has already won some 800 orders from more than 40 customers.