Is Airbus’ Bandit Mask On The A350 Helpful?

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The Airbus A350 has been widely a considerable success since its launch. However, one of its most distinguishable features is its bandit-like mask featured around the cockpit windows. Why is that? Let’s break it down. 

One of the latest widebody aircraft that has graced the skies, The Airbus A350, has given the industry a fantastic widebody plane. It thus far has accumulated orders from customers around the globe, coming equipped with two members of the family, the A350-900 and the A350-1000.

While you could easily focus on its success or even the negatives surrounding the aircraft, like the ongoing legal battle with Qatar Airways over surface defects, one of the easiest ways to recognise the A350 at any airport worldwide is thanks to its bandit-like mask. This mask is also featured on the A350.  

Airbus’ A350 features a bandit-like mask on the cockpit windows

Well, it doesnt require too much explaining, as per coming from Airbus themselves directly, the bandit-like mask, which they describe as almost a Ray ban-like back windshield, actually eases the window’s maintenance and contributes to the harmonising of the terminal condition of such a  sensitive part of the plane.

While being described as something that improves the A350, ultimately,  it’s not been reported as something that makes a sizeable difference overall, but something that  Airbus adopted that seemingly worked and took off, if anything, the minor but significant change in the aircraft’s appearance has given the A350 a unique look, a bandit mask.

It’s not something they specifically created, but they’ve undoubtedly brought it back with a vengeance, with airlines worldwide adding bandit masks to their aircraft, from Air Canada’s updated livery to the upcoming  Northern Pacific Airways. For these airlines, the design changes are implemented on all their aircraft, as neither flies the A350.

Northern Pacific Airways livery features a bandit mask that is painted on

In these instances, they hold no benefits to say maintenance, but they have been great for PR, wow factor and overall smarts. All A350s are configured with this said design regardless of the customer. It is worth mentioning. 

Since Airbus introduced the A350 some time ago, future models that have been released have also adopted such a design, but what’s important to note is that on these aircraft, the bandit-like mask is not a design feature. Instead, it’s painted on in most of these areas and can be requested by said customer.

So while, yes, the A350 has adopted such a design that has benefits, aside from maintenance, its a choice that makes the aircraft generally look more stylish, and that is why we’ve seen from the A330neo to some A320neos to the A321XLR and airlines adopting such a cockpit design for their liveries.  

The bandit mask oozes style in the eyes of many, and we hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about its purpose on the A350, alongside how it rapidly progressed to other airlines, aircraft and more around the world in recent years. 

Daniel Fowkes
11 Dec 2022
· Analysis 

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  1. Totally agree in respects that it looks stylish and modern, I think it is interesting that Boeing have not introduced such designs on their 777X to perhaps keep it looking as slick as the A350. In my opinion, the 777X doesn’t look too dissimilar to the 777 perhaps making it look more dated and to some extent ugly compared to the A350. As a regular passenger with no background knowledge (hypothetically), I would much rather fly on the A350/330neo than the 777/787 purely because the latter don’t look as appealing as the 350/330.

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      Author

      It would look fantastic on the 777X – Generally, the only hope would be for carriers that have adopted the mask-like design to their liveries, such as Air Canada order such a plane. I think while the 777X doesn’t look too dissimilar, it’s a nice enough difference, with the engines and wingtips. The roundness of the 330 though certainly means many like it.

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