US Airways has 22 of Airbus’ next generation of widebody jet, the A350, on order for delivery between 2017 and 2019. The specific model break down had been 18 A350-800 and 4 A350-900 but as Flight Global reports this has just been changed to the 22 -900. What’s the difference between the two models? About 39 seats. Per Flight Global:
The -900 seats 315 passengers in a typical two-class configuration compared to 276 passengers in the -800, according to the European airframer.
Why this matters: The bar to transatlantic air service is going up. US Airways currently operates 204-seat Boeing 767-200ERs on many of its routes from Charlotte to Europe and Brazil. Those planes will be retired sooner rather than later. The replacements are going to have significantly more seats, making it more difficult for the merged American Airlines/US Airways to justify adding additional destinations from Charlotte to Europe or South America. Or even to maintain service to some of the destinations currently being served.