This year commercial flying is all about the A350

A few years back it was about the Boeing 787, as airlines starts to receive their jets and promote themselves with one of the brand new jets from Boeing. While the 787 was innovative in the use of composite materials to result in a lightweight body frame, the introduction of that plane has been quite a fiasco with the batteries onboard catching fire and several notable incidents that actually led to the plane’s grounding.

Finnair’s A350. Photo from Airbus

Then in 2015, Airbus delivered its first A350, also a whole new plane that is meant to compete with both the 787 and the 777. The A350 is currently being utilized by only 4 airlines, Qatar, Vietnam Airlines, Finnair and TAM. Qatar and Finnair has developed an A350 web-page specifically for the jet, while none of these 4 operators have any First Class as that has been the trend recently. That is to reduce First Class in most airplane cabins.

Singapore Airlines A350 rendered by Airbus. Photo from Singapore Airlines media website

On 2 March 2016, Singapore Airlines received its first A350 and plans to fly them to Amsterdam and Düsseldorf. Cathay Pacific meanwhile will receive its A350 sometime in May this year and would fly them around the region with preparatory flights to Ho Chi Minh, Taipei and Singapore before flying them to European destinations.

Rendering of Cathay Pacific’s A350 by Airbus. Note the render still uses the old livery.

The real news though is the ultra long haul services that Singapore Airlines to conduct with the A350-900ULR which they will receive in 2017, allowing SQ to fly direct to several American cities from Singapore. For the ultra long range flights, Singapore Airlines will have brand new Business Class cabins.

Another interesting note is that the premium airlines are also not expected to add First Class to these cabins. Thus I expect very few, if any of these A350s would even feature First Class at all. But one thing is for sure, these sleek jets will add a new scenery to airports around the world and I am looking forward to my first flight onboard these planes.



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