Airbus captures five $300m A350 jetliners flying together in this billion-dollar photo shoot


This September, Airbus took to the skies to capture photos of five of its massive test and development A350–900s. The photo shoot was meant to celebrate the certification of the company’s latest twin-engine, wide-body jetliner.

It was also probably one of the most expensive photo shoots we’ve ever come across.

At a cool $300 million for each of the five A350–900s, the cost of the subjects alone totals $1.5 billion dollars.

Any five element photo shoot is complicated. An airborne photo shoot is a thousand times more complicated. Doing it with five massive, quarter of a million-pound aircraft is utterly remarkable. Great video.

  • Sigivald

    Er… since the planes were not made just for the shoot, and are in fact going to continue being test planes, their cost is not the cost of the shoot.

    So it’s not “the most expensive photo shoot” they’ve come across; by that logic taking a picture of New York City is far more expensive because of the real estate costs!

    • Meaux

      I took a picture of the pyramids. If you combine the cost of construction, take into account revenue generation and give a nice bump for historical landmark status, that’s easily a $50-100 billion photo shoot.

  • Rachid

    Love how they still use Windows XP!

  • davebarnes

    I just love this stuff!

  • Robert.Walter

    Very impressive … prettiest group shot since the beautiful color shots of the 375th F.S. P-51 Mustangs in formation during WW2. And fortunately didn’t end-up like the GE Jet Engine “Family Portrait” that killed 2 or 3 pilots and destroyed a XB-70 Valkyrie and a F-104 Starfighter.

    p.s. I’m a little bit disappointed that Boeing didn’t have the creativity and the gumption to do this with their aircraft.

  • bkev

    Impressive. Especially because sometimes these photo shoots don’t go quite as planned.

  • DaGonz

    That was awesome! I shared the video with my fellow “airplane geeks”

  • Hans

    As said by the Chief of operations, only Test Pilots with Air Force or Navy backgrounds. For them, it used to be the staple diet of their squadron days, rejoining and flying this way. A little bit more touchy whith an airliner than with a fighter, because of the very limited visibility sideways and behind, and the inertia of course. Totally irrelevant for any civilian airline pilot. Funny to hear all those french accents – and for the comment about Windows XP in the Corvette, why would you change something which is working perfectly ?

  • old 141 driver

    In the 70’s we flew C-141A’s in formation all the time. Thousand foot trail formation and fighter style “fingertip” formation (where we had nose to tail clearance and, as I recall, a ten foot wingtip overlap). The long time transport guys were very nervous of that so all us young copilots, fresh out of Pilot Training which included formation work, did a lot of the flying while joined up. I loved it but it was really silly to do that with so large a plane – after a year or so the powers that be decided to quit while they were ahead and went to box and trail formations only. It was a brief and glorious time.

  • a pain

    “quarter of a million aircraft”? that’s a quarter of a BILLION……it’s not difficult….

    • patrick

      1/4 million lb a/c is a reference to their weight not cost I would say- empty weight @ 255,000 lbs.

  • Joe Bledsoe

    Nice shot but nothing really any different than any military group does every day. I did like the arrow split out.

  • RB Bob

    From an old Marine Corps A-4 pilot — Don’t really care how expensive, or not, or how complicated, or not, it was neat!

  • Germanbass

    Yea, the Thunderbirds do it quicker, but this was impressive! Who says the French are incompetent. Bravo!

  • garyowen

    If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going! Airbus should have their gonads cut off for a design that says the computer weenies know more about flying than the pilots! If teh Air France plane that went down in teh South Atlantic had traditional control yokes the pilots could have figured out what they were doing wrong…..and not crashed.

    • paul

      airbus= computer masturbation, Boeing= honest aircraft