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Business

Airbus to Launch A350 to Rival Boeing 7E7

The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus is to launch a new plane, the A350, that will challenge the future Boeing fuel-efficient 7E7, Airbus owners EADS and BAE Systems said Friday. The announcement came as the board of directors of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) was meeting in Amsterdam. EADS controls 80 percent of Airbus and BAE Systems of Britain 20 percent. The decision means that Airbus is authorized to solicit orders for the aircraft, derived from the A330 model, which will be offered in two versions that are expected to be operational in 2010. EADS and BAE Systems foresee a market for 3,100 A350 aircraft over 20 years. The plane will have a capacity of between 245 and 285 seats. The overall cost of a new program could come to as much as €4 billion ($5.3 billion), according to press reports. Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard has said he would ask for reimbursable advances from four European countries -- Britain, France, Germany and Spain -- to go ahead with development of the A350.

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