There’s a shootout happening in the skies, with two competing aircraft that promise a new era in long-haul passenger comfort and a game-changer for airlines. In one corner is Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, in the other the Airbus A350 XWB.
There are major similarities. They’re both long range, wide-bodied, twin-engine aircraft. Both are the first large commercial aircraft to be constructed extensively from carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP), which doesn’t corrode or suffer from fatigue to the same extent as a traditional aluminium fuselage and wings.
The Airbus A350 XWB aircraft for Thai Airways boasts supersize overhead bins.
CFRP also allows the cabin to tolerate higher pressure. The pressure inside the cabin of the 787 Dreamliner and A350 XWB is equivalent to about 6000 feet, about 2000 feet lower than aboard a conventional aircraft, which means more oxygen in your lungs, more moisture in the air and a more comfortable flight.