British Airways’ first Airbus A350-1000 was spotted this week rolling out of the paint shop in Toulouse, France, adorning the airline’s Chatham Dockyard design.
British Airways will become the second European and UK-based airline to operate the largest A350 variant, following Virgin Atlantic, which is set to launch the A350 this summer on its London Heathrow-New York JFK service.
British Airways currently has 18 A350-1000s on order, with delivery of the first aircraft expected this summer. Another three are expected to join the BA fleet by year-end, followed by eight in 2020, five in 2021, and a final one in 2022. The airline also holds options on a further 18 of the aircraft.
The introduction of the A350 comes as BA begins to retire its 747-400s and renew its fleet with new generation widebody aircraft. In addition to the 18 A350s, the airline currently has 12 787-10s, four 777-300ERs and 18 777-9s on order.
Inside BA’s A350
British Airways will launch the A350-100 with a three-class layout accommodating 331 passengers. In addition to 219 World Traveller and 56 World Traveller Plus seats, the airline will also debut its new Club World product, dubbed ‘Club Suites.’
The new business class will offer flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration with a suite door for greater privacy and direct aisle access for all passengers. Each seat will also feature 40% more storage, a vanity unit and mirror, wifi, inflight entertainment screens of up to 18.5″ with gate-to-gate programming, and PC and USB power.
British Airways has opted for the popular reverse herringbone layout, though the airline will be the first to offer the product with a suite door, similar to Delta’s Delta One Suite and Qatar Airways QSuite.
The A350-1000 will feature a total of 56 Club Suites.
Following the delivery of the first A350 this summer, British Airways will operate the aircraft on short-haul routes between London and Madrid to familiarise cabin crew with the aircraft layout.
From 1st October 2019, the aircraft will begin to operate on long-haul routes. The initial long-haul route to be operated by the A350 is Toronto (BA92/93), with Dubai (BA106/107) to launch a week later on 8th October.