Airbus A350

In response to the Boeing 787 Airbus launched the A350. Initially, this was to be an A330 with new engines and improved aerodynamics. However, Airbus quickly found out that a slightly improved A330 could not compete with the all-new, composite fuselage Dreamliner. Thus the original A350 became the A350XWB, extra widy body. Like the Boeing 787 it features a composite fuselage mated to metal wings.

Not surprisingly the A350 looks a lot like the Airbus A330, especially the second generation A330-800/900, and the Boeing 787. One look at the cockpit windows is enough to keep them apart, however. The A350 has six curved cockpit windows. Additionally, the vertical stabiliser has no dorsal fin and only a very small curve at the front of the root. The final typical feature are the curved winglets.

The nose of A350 has a similar shape as the Boeing 787, but has six curved cockpit windows with rounded corners.

Compared to previous Airbus wide body models, the vertical stabiliser of the A350 has a very small curvature where the leading edge meets the fuselage.

Different versions

The different A350 subtypes can be distinguished by

  • the length of the fuselage
  • the number of wheels on the main landing gear

Airbus A350-900 & -900ULR

The A350-900 is the shortest of the two main variants. While counting windows between main cabin doors is an option to recognise it, you'd better look at the main landing gear if possible. It has four wheels per leg instead of six on the A350-1000.

The version is also available with additional fuselage fuel tanks to increase the range. This subtype is known as A350-900ULR. From the outside there is no difference with the normal -900.

Airbus A350-900, nicely showing its curved winglets.

Airbus A350-900, seen more from behind. Note the four wheels on each main landing gear leg.

Airbus A350-1000

Seven metres longer than the A350-900 is the A350-1000. To accommodate the higher weight the -1000 has six wheels on each main landing gear leg compared to four on the A350-900.

The Airbus A350-1000 is distinctively longer than the A350-900.

The main landing gears with six wheels per leg are its best recognition point of the Airbus A350-1000.

Confusion possible with

Airbus A330


The A330 and A350 are externally quite similar, especially the second generation A330-800 and -900 pictured here. However, the cockpit windows (actually the whole nose) of both aircraft are different. More­over, the dorsal fin of the A330 has a larger curvature. While the A330-800 and -900 have curved winglets like the A350, the canted winglets of the older A330-200 and -300 are not curved.

Boeing 787

b787 8

At first the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 may have a large resemblance. However, look at the cockpit windows (four on the 787, six on the A350), top of vertical stabiliser, tailcone and wingtips and you will notice the diffe­rences.

Boeing 777

b777 300er

In particular the A350-1000 could be con­fused with the Boeing 777, as both have six wheel main landing gear bogeys. The A350 has curved up winglets though, while the 777 hasn't. Also the Triple Seven has a flat square tail cone and a different nose shape.