Tag Archives: A350 XWB

A350 Debut for Air Caraïbes

French Caribbean carrier Air Caraïbes has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350 XWB.  The jet, F-HHAV (c/n 082) – acquired on lease from AerCap – was handed over to the Les Abymes, Guadeloupe-based airline on February 28 during a ceremony at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse.

The aircraft is expected to enter revenue service on March 2.  (Airbus)

It was then ferried to Paris/Orly ahead of its maiden commercial service to Pointe-à-Pitre and Fort-de-France on March 2.

The aircraft features the European manufacturer’s ‘Airspace by Airbus’ cabin, accommodating 389 passengers in a three-class configuration including 18 in Business, 45 in Premium Economy and 326 in Economy.

From left: Air Caraïbes’ Marc Rochet and Jean-Paul Dubreuil, alongside Airbus EVP Programmes Didier Evrard, Rolls-Royce President – Civil Aerospace Eric Schulz and AerCap President and CCO Philip Scruggs.  (Airbus)


A330neos for Air Mauritius

Air Mauritius has agreed long-term leases for two Airbus A330-900neos with Air Lease Corporation.  The two aircraft will join the carrier in September and October 2018, replacing two A340-300Es whose leases expires in November and December 2018.  Air Mauritius will initially deploy the aircraft on medium haul routes to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Delhi and Perth.

The A330-900s will be configured in a two-class layout accommodating 291 passengers with 28 fully lie-flat seats in Business Class and 263 in Economy.  The jets will also feature a new inflight entertainment system as well as Wi-Fi.

“This decision follows a thorough evaluation process and accelerates the fleet renewal program of the airline with another state of the art aircraft,” Air Mauritius said in a statement.

“The replacement of the two A340-300E by the A330-900 aircraft is key to modernising the fleet of Air Mauritius and will offer enhanced passenger experience and comfort, operating efficiencies and technological innovation.  The new aircraft will also allow Air Mauritius to improve its products and competitiveness in the current dynamic and challenging market environment.”

Air Mauritius also has six A350-900s on order and has announced it is deferring delivery of the last two from 2020 to 2023.

Lufthansa’s Maiden A350 Introduced in Style

More than 2,000 employees and guests were treated to a spectacular light show as Lufthansa welcomed its first Airbus A350-941, D-AIXA (c/n 074), with a glamorous party in Munich on February 2.

Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa’s CEO, told guests that the aircraft was a milestone in the carrier’s strategy.

“We are fascinated by the innovations the A350 XWB brings,” he added.

The aircraft, which has been named after the city of Nuremberg, is configured with 48 seats in Business Class, 21 in Premium Economy and 224 in Economy.  Lufthansa has 25 examples on order and will base its first ten A350s in Munich, launching services on February 10 to Delhi and then Boston.

Cabin installations were completed by Lufthansa Technik in its maintenance hangar in Munich and a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) has been issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency.

“A total of 20 employees from our team worked with colleagues from Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt on the aircraft over the past three weeks,” said Sven Pawliska, who heads up the long-haul aircraft maintenance at Lufthansa Technik in Munich.  “The installation of the Premium Economy Class and new self-service racks in the Business Class were among the upgrades that are most visible to passengers.”

Thai Delays A350 Services to Melbourne

Thai Airways International will delay introducing the Airbus A350 XWB on services to Melbourne because the aircraft has not yet been approved by the Australian authorities.

“Due to additional inspections and requirements from Australian authorities on Thai’s newest aircraft type A350XWB, the approval process is not able to be completed in time for Thai to operate the maiden flight by September 16, 2016,” the carrier’s president Charamporn Jotikasthira said in a statement on the airline’s website.

“Previously in 2014, the approval of Thai’s 787-8 Dreamliner was much shorter.  Thai, therefore, needs to delay operating the A350XWB to Melbourne until the authorities have completed their approval process.”

The airline says it expects approval to be finalised in time for the aircraft to debut on the route when the winter schedule comes into force in October.  In the meantime, Thai will continue to use the Boeing 777-200 on its twice-daily flights between Bangkok and Melbourne.

While approval from the Australian authorities is sought, the A350s will continue to fly on domestic services from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket.

Jetstar Pacific Signals Expansion

Vietnamese low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines has finalised the purchase of ten additional Airbus A320ceo aircraft.

This firm order follows an MoU announced earlier this year at the Farnborough Airshow.  The contract signing was witnessed by Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and François Hollande, during the French President’s state visit to Southeast Asian nation.

Based in Ho Chi Minh City, Jetstar Pacific is a joint venture carrier between Vietnam Airlines (70%) and the Qantas Group (30%).   The new aircraft will join the carrier’s existing fleet of 12 leased A320 Family aircraft, and this order marks the first direct purchase by the airline of an Airbus aircraft type.

Le Hong Ha, CEO of Jetstar Pacific, said: This order is a key milestone for our operation here in Vietnam and beyond.  These new aircraft will be used primarily to expand our international network from Vietnam as part of the wider Jetstar Group.  As competition grows in Vietnam, we believe that the A320 and our value-based quality service will place us well to attract a growing share of the market.”

During the same ceremony Vietnam Airlines signed an MoU for ten more A350-900s.  These additional aircraft will be used by the airline to fly new non-stop services to the US, starting with flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles.  The carrier became the first airline in East Asia to operate the A350 XWB when it took delivery of its first example on June 30, 2015.  It currently has four aircraft in service, with another ten on firm order.

Vietnam Airlines is acquiring ten additional Airbus A350-900s bringing its commitment to the type to 24. (Airbus)
Vietnam Airlines is acquiring ten additional Airbus A350-900s, bringing its commitment to the type to 24. (Airbus)

Duong Tri Thanh, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines, said: “The intention to acquire these additional aircraft reflects our excellent experience with the A350 since it entered service last year.  With its very long-range capability, economic fuel consumption and spacious cabin, the A350 is the most suitable aircraft for our proposed intercontinental routes to Europe and the US.  The start of non-stop transpacific services with the A350 is yet another example of the commitment we have at Vietnam Airlines to strengthen our position as one of the world’s leading international carriers.”

To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 810 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 43 customers worldwide.  A total of 36 A350-900s have been delivered so far and the aircraft is now in service with eight carriers, including Vietnam Airlines.

Thai Joins the A350 Club

Thai Airways International has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900, making it the eighth operator of the type.  The jet, which is leased from CIT, is registered HS-THB (c/n 044) and has been named Wichian Buri.  It is the first of 12 the carrier has on order, four of which are being purchased directly from Airbus.

Thai crew pose with the new jet at the Delivery Centre at Toulouse. Airbus
Thai crew pose with the new jet at the Delivery Centre at Toulouse.  (Airbus)

Thai’s A350s are configured in a two-class layout, consisting of 32 Royal Silk Class, convertible fully lie-flat beds and 289 seats in Economy Class.  In Royal Silk Class, seat pitch is between 41 and 46in with each having a 16in touchscreen.  In Economy Class, the seats are pitched at 32in and are equipped with an 11in touchscreen.  Wi-Fi is also provided on board.

The jet will debut on domestic services between Bangkok and Chiang Mai before making its long-haul bow on the Bangkok-Melbourne route.

First NEO for LATAM

Airbus has handed over LATAM Airlines Group’s first A320neo.  The carrier is the first in the Americas to operate the latest generation jet, which is powered by Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1100-JM engines.

Executives from LATAM and Airbus attended a delivery ceremony at the manufacturer’s Toulouse, France, facility where the carrier also took delivery of its fourth A350 XWB.  Both jets are painted in LATAM’s new livery.

“We are pleased to offer our passengers the opportunity to fly the first A320neo in the Americas,” said Enrique Cueto, CEO of LATAM Airlines Group.  “The A320 aircraft family has long served an important role in our fleet, supporting the operation of our unrivalled domestic and regional network in Latin America.  With the latest in technology, efficiency and passenger comfort, the A320neo is a welcome addition and will help us to continue to offer one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry.”

Airbus President and CEO, Fabrice Brégier commented: “Over the years, Airbus and LATAM have grown together to become partners in building today’s dynamic aviation market in Latin America, which is why we are especially proud that the first A320neo in the Americas will be flying in LATAM’s livery.  We are certain that this aircraft will complement their existing fleet and further their success in the region.”

The South American carrier will debut the 174-seat neo on domestic services before expanding to regional routes in November.  The airline has 67 A320neo Family aircraft on order.

#FIA16: Airbus Nets Virgin A350 Order

Virgin Atlantic Airways has placed a $4.4bn firm order for 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

Eight of the jets will be purchased outright with the other four leased. Virgin has selected the A350-1000 as a replacement for its remaining Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A340-600 aircraft, with the first airframes arriving in early 2019.

The deal was announced on day one of the Farnborough International Airshow.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger, said: “The size of this order demonstrates our absolute focus on investing in the future for our customers and our people, and confirms the strength of our business.”

“The A350-1000 plays a pivotal role in our fleet programme, helping to create one of the youngest, cleanest, greenest fleets in the sky.”

“We’re looking forward to introducing this aircraft to our customers, as its impressive economics, fuel performance, and quiet flying offer an irresistible proposition that makes long haul travel more enjoyable and better for the environment.”

Virgin intends to operate the A350-1000 on both business and leisure routes from London Heathrow and London Gatwick. The initial aircraft will operate to “key” US destinations from Heathrow.

Because the jets will be used on business and leisure routes, they will be delivered to the airline in two configurations. The business fleet will seat up to 360 passengers with the leisure fleet accommodating up to 410.

Virgin Atlantic President Sir Richard Branson said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the A350 to Virgin Atlantic.  It is an outstanding aircraft from both a customer and sustainability point of view.  Sustainable growth and meeting our carbon targets is incredibly important to us, and the aircraft’s environmental credentials were a genuine factor in our selection.  We will be pairing its cutting edge customer proposition with our own Virgin magic to give customers the best possible experience.”

Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer, added: “This agreement allows Virgin Atlantic to set the standard on its network by being amongst the first airlines into service with the A350-1000, with an Airspace by Airbus cabin, offering superior comfort including industry leading 18in wide seats in economy. These modern, efficient A350s will complement Virgin Atlantic’s existing fleet of ten A330-300s and offer Virgin Atlantic crews the advantage of familiarity with Airbus operating procedures around the network.”


Cathay Joins the A350 Club

Cathay Pacific Airways has become the sixth airline to take delivery of the Airbus A350 XWB.  Its first aircraft, B-LRA (c/n 029), will be operated under a long-term lease agreement from the Dutch lessor AerCap.  The jet, featuring the carrier’s new livery, was handed over during a ceremony at the manufacturer’s Toulouse facility on May 28.  The Hong Kong-based airline has 48 A350 XWBs on order consisting of 22 A350-900s and 26 of the larger A350-1000s.

Philip Scruggs, AerCap President and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are pleased to deliver the first A350-900 to long-time customer airliner Cathay Pacific Airways.  The A350-900 offers unrivalled levels of operational efficiency while giving an enhanced guest experience with superior levels of comfort.  We are looking forward to continuing our successful relationship with the Cathay Pacific team as the airline optimises its fleet.”

The aircraft has been configured with a premium three-class layout, which can accommodate 280 passengers, comprising: 38 lie-flat seats in Business Class; 28 in Premium Economy and 214 in the main cabin.  Cathay Pacific will be introducing the new aircraft initially on its regional network before starting long-haul operations later this year.