Each jet can cater for up to 350 passengers across business class, premium economy and economy cabins.
British Airways will add the Airbus A350 to its fleet, with the airline ordering 18 of the next-gen jetliners as part of a continuing upgrade which also includes the Airbus A380 and Boeing787 Dreamliner.
BA has agreed to buy 18 of the largest A350-1000 model, which carries a list price of A$308m per plane, in a deal worth a potential A$5.5bn.
Although Airbus expects to debut the A350-900 in the middle of next year, with the smaller A350-800 in mid-2016 and the stretched A350-1000 following in mid-2017.
Like the Boeing 787, the A350 uses mainly composite carbon-fibre rather than metal in an attempt to reduce weight, increase fuel efficiency and also boost passenger-experience attributes such as providing lower cabin pressure, higher humidity and larger windows.
However, the supersized A350-1000 is a closer match to the Boeing 777-300ER which BA already operated and recently introduced on its Sydney-London route.
Other airlines backing the Airbus A350 include launch customer Qatar Airways, which has signed up for 80 aircraft; Emirates Airline, which has inked a deal for 70 planes; and Cathay Pacific's pledge to buy 36 A350s.
BA also has 40 of Boeing's 787 on order, making it one of relatively few airlines in the world to adopt a mixed fleet of both 787s and A350s.
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.