Airbus Industrie announced it is considering developing a commercial jet larger than Boeing's 747. The Airbus plane, tentatively dubbed the A350, would be able to carry up to 700 passengers with a range of at least 7,000 miles.
The four-engine jet, which could cost $4 billion to develop, could enter service by 2002, Airbus said.
Boeing's 747, the world's largest passenger plane, was first put into service 20 years ago. Its latest version of the 747, the model 400, technically can hold up to 600 passengers, but achieves an 8,400-mile range with 412 passengers in three classes.
Airbus' largest current model, the A340-300, can carry 295 passengers in three classes up to 7,600 miles. Its first flight is set for next year.