Vietnam Airlines has become the second airline in the world to operate the all-new A350 XWB, following a special ceremony in Toulouse.
The A350-900 aircraft was delivered to global lessor AerCap on lease to the airline for operation on long haul routes and is scheduled to arrive in Hanoi today.
Altogether, Vietnam Airlines is set to acquire 14 A350 XWBs, including ten ordered from Airbus and four from lessors.
Vietnam Airlines will inaugurate commercial service with the A350 XWB later this week, initially on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh domestic sector and then on non-stop flights from Hanoi to Paris.
The aircraft is configured with a premium three class layout, with 29 seats that convert to full flat beds in Business Class, 45 seats in Premium Economy and 231 in Economy.
In addition to more personal space in all classes, the aircraft features the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems throughout.
Vietnam Airlines’ new A350 XWB will join an existing Airbus fleet of 59 aircraft flying with the carrier, comprising 49 A321s and 10 A330s.
“The arrival of the A350 XWB marks the start of a major upgrade of our long haul fleet,” said Trinh Ngoc Thanh, executive vice president, commercial, Vietnam Airlines.
“Combining the latest technologies, a wider cabin and the highest levels of comfort, the A350 XWB will enable us to fly our passengers in style whichever class of travel they choose.”
The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.
“We are proud to see Vietnam Airlines become the second airline in the world to operate the A350 XWB,” said Fabrice Brégier, president, Airbus.
“We are confident that the all-new A350 XWB will enable Vietnam Airlines to consolidate its position as one of Asia’s leading international carriers, bringing its passengers the best the industry has to offer.”
Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs.
To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 781 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 40 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.
The aircraft handed over today is the fifth A350 XWB to be delivered, following the type’s entry into commercial service with its first operator earlier this year.