Airbus Group SE has stepped up efforts to sell a business-jet version of its newest A350 wide-body plane after developing a mechanism that allows the model to be customized without damaging the composite fuselage.
The ACJ350 will feature a number of factory-fitted attachment points to which dividing walls and bulkheads can be secured later according to customer specifications, Airbus said Monday.
The approach does away with the need for the drilling of hundreds of holes, something that’s straightforward with traditional aluminum fuselages but much more problematic with modern carbon-fiber ones featuring layers of laminate that cleave in specific directions.
Airbus has so far won one order for a corporate-jet A350, secured from an unspecified customer in the early days of the program, spokesman David Velupillai said by phone from the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, where the model was introduced.
With the A350 attracting more than 800 orders for the passenger version and entering a phase of production ramp-up after the delivery of about 20 aircraft, Airbus is pressing for further business-jet orders as the program matures, Velupillai said.
The A350-900 version of the ACJ will offer 2,910 square feet of cabin space, with a capacity of 25 passengers and a range of 10,800 nautical miles or 22 hours for the ultra-long range variant. The passenger version of the aircraft typically seats about 325 people in a three-class configuration.