The largest version of the Airbus A350 widebody twinjet made its first flight Thursday in Toulouse, France, achieving an important milestone in the European plane maker’s strategic sales battle with Boeing.

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The largest version of the Airbus A350 widebody twinjet made its first flight Thursday in Toulouse, France, achieving an important milestone in the European plane maker’s strategic sales battle with Boeing.

The A350-1000, seating 366 passengers, is about the same size as Boeing’s best-selling current widebody, the 777-300ER, which typically seats 365 passengers. The new Airbus jet is an inch longer than Boeing’s, though the 777’s cabin is 9 inches wider.

The A350’s key advantage is that it’s a lighter, all-composite airplane with new engines, giving it longer range and higher fuel efficiency than the 777. That’s why new sales of the 777-300ER have plummeted.

In response, Boeing has launched the new, even larger 777X model, the first version of which is due to enter service in 2020 and will seat more than 400 passengers.

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Though both manufacturers are toying with the idea of even larger models of both jet families, the fact that Boeing has sold more than 800 of its 777-300ERs since 1990 suggests that the A350-1000 may be the right size to hit the sweet spot of the big twin-jet market.

So far, Airbus has booked 195 orders for the A350-1000.

Meanwhile, the four-turbine Boeing 747 and Airbus’own A380 superjumbo struggle to find buyers.

Zafar Khan, an analyst at Société Générale in London, said the price of crude oil would need to drop “much lower” than $50 a barrel for four-engine planes to have a chance of a renaissance.

“As long as fuel prices remain at elevated levels then two-engine jets will clearly prevail,” he said.

Before the advent of the so-called “big twin” aircraft, older two-engine widebodies such as the 767 and A330 were limited to medium-haul markets such as the north Atlantic, partly because of practical limits on how far they could fly in the event of one turbine failing. The 777 cast off those shackles by winning certification for flights as far as three hours from the nearest airport.

The standard A350-900 has U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval for up to five hours or 2,000 nautical miles of diversionary flying on a single engine, making possible trips from Southeast Asia and Australia to the U.S. In a denser configuration the new -1000 will be able to carry 440 people, less than 100 short of the A380’s standard 525-passenger payload, though the double-decker could accommodate as many as 800 seats in a single class.

The airline industry’s appetite for bigger twin-engine planes was revealed when Airbus scrapped a shrunken A350-800 variant, which was deemed too small at 280 seats, and opted instead to upgrade the A330 for shorter routes.

With the A350-1000 attracting fewer than 200 orders, versus about 600 for the baseline -900, airlines appear to be holding out for something still bigger, though Francois Caudron, Airbus’s senior vice president for marketing, said in Toulouse it’s not yet ready to commit to a double-stretch of the plane, dubbed the A350-2000.

Boeing, though, is adding more seats to its best-selling widebody, with new slimline berths taking the total to 396 while still retaining three classes. Twinjet capacity will increase still further in 2020, when the U.S. company introduces the 777X upgrade, the largest version of which will seat as many as 425 people in three classes. A bigger version is under consideration able to take upward of 450 travelers, making it a true jumbo in its own right.

All told, the A350, 787 and 777 have unfilled orders totaling more than 1,950 planes, versus just 29 for the 747 and 121 for the A380.

The A350-1000’s debut flight means Airbus has met its goal of getting the model into the air before the end of 2016, with Qatar Airways scheduled to be the first carrier to deploy the aircraft next year.