The origianl Airbus announcement was, if not publically named as such, an ATO - Authority to Offer, implying that the project had passed various critical internal review steps and been deemed worthy of presentation to potential customers. The LOI and MOU deals imply that commercial terms and conditions (price/spec/delivery dates) have been broadly agreed. Contractual negotiations will continue with a view to completing these as firm contracts. It suggests that Airbus management are intent on building the aircraft. There is probably a minimum number of commitments and or customers (still) to be reached.
As for the 777XF, Boeing will be out there persuading candidate airlines that they will have a better moustrap and the A350F should be cold shouldered. Given the prolonged antagonism between Airbus and Qatar, a significant launch 777XF order must be odds-on. Probably a double-digit number as AAB likes to make headlines.
The original title of this thread was something along the line of "Roomers of an A350F..."
Based on the wording of the Board of Director's statement, including an EIS date of I believe 2025, and various clamoring on this site backing it up the Mods changed the tittle to ""launches the..."
I cannot see how Airbus could set an EIS date on just an "Authority to Offer."
A number of people, including myself, argued that how can you have a launch without any orders. Other people defended that and pointed out that there was at least 1 historical precedent.
I'm not buying you explanation of the July announcement being an ATO. The wording was very specific that it was a "Launch" along with an EIS.
From a personal viewpoint: I think that Airbus has the cart before the horse... and I'm not even sure that its tethered to the horse at this point. I may be wrong, and time will tell.
I also agree that while MOUs and LOIs can be done, there is no reason to hype them. As far as I can tell they often get modified before a final contract is signed, and some never turn into a contract.
It's like counting your future children based on an agreement to have sex.