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Comparing the Airbus A320 to the Airbus A350

The Airbus A320/A330 are very similar to the Airbus A350 as they both represent Airbus’s first generation of Fly By Wire (FBW) aircraft. The A350’s cockpit philosophy comes from the A380 rather than the A320/A330 but other differences between the A320 and A350 comes from making improvements on the A320. Some significant differences include the aircraft size, cockpit, OIS, flight management system and flight crew area.

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The Airbus 320/A330 is a medium to long range passenger aircraft, which is 58,37m long with a wingspan of 60,30m. The A350 is a long-range passenger aircraft, which is a slightly bigger. It is 66,8M long and has a wingspan of 64,75m. The A320 typically seats 256 passengers, while the A350 has a wider and longer cabin enabling it to seat as many as 315 passengers. The extra capacity of the A350 allows for more payload to be carried further and that for less fuel per kg transported. The A350 can also maintain a higher air speed than the A320. Every engine has two generators on the A350, while the A330 only has one per engine.


The most noticeable difference from the A380 is that the A350 now boasts additional displays besides the usual line-up. These are for the Onboard Information System (OIS). These additional screens display Electronic Flight Bag applications from stowed laptops. Some system changes have come from refining the A380’s architecture for A350. This includes the use of a further six identical large displays to make information sharing easier.


The improvement from the A380 can be seen in how the screens can be moved around in the cockpit. All information can be reconfigured according to the need to share and discuss information within and from the cockpit. The A350’s Flight Management System (FMS) can control the information on all screens and the OIS. This flexibility along with a more logical display of information from the FMS makes programming the aircraft’s fly-by-wire technology easier.


The A350 has a rest area above and between the front passenger doors behind the cockpit for all flight crew to recover before extending their duty.

The A350 has inherited and refined most functions from the flight deck of the A380. Other system changes in the A350 are safety and efficiency improvements on how things are done in the A330.

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