Airbus anticipates that the market will eventually want a version of the A350 XWB larger than the -1000 variant, company executives said May 21.

However, any decision to launch what has been dubbed the A350-2000 is “a matter for tomorrow, not today,” Airbus CCO Christian Scherer told reporters in Toulouse at the company’s program briefing event for media.

The A350-1000 became the largest airliner in Airbus’ new-sales portfolio since the company announced in February that it would end A380 production in 2021.

Airbus executives now refer to the A350-1000 as the company’s “flagship”, emphasizing its economics and productivity with a cabin that can “comfortably” accommodate 10-abreast seating on long-haul flights.

“Is the market going to want the grow the A350? My guess is, yes. Do we need to do that immediately? I would say no,” Scherer said. “But clearly the A350 is going to want to grow and has the capability to grow.”

Airbus EVP-programs and services Philippe Mhun said the A380 was a “step change in terms of passenger experience” and Airbus could not have developed the A350 without what it learned from developing the A380.

But Scherer noted that while the A380 airframe was “a marvel in terms of contemporary technology, its engines were perhaps a half-generation behind.”

Karen Walker