MIAMI— Airbus is readying the A350 XWBs for Finnair and TAM Airlines, first customers in Europe and the Americas, respectively.
Yesterday, the first A350 XWB for Finnair completed its first flight in Toulouse. Now, the jetliner will undergo ground checks and flight tests prior to its delivery “in the coming weeks” according to a mailed statement. The airline expects to take delivery of four this year. Another seven will be delivered in 2016 and 2017, with the remaining eight to be delivered between 2018 and 2023 to a total of 19 aircraft.
Once delivered, the aircraft will be assigned to crew training flights from Helsinki to London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol, scheduled to start on October 5. First scheduled flight has been set to Shanghai on October 25 and to Beijing on November 21.
Finnair has opted to configure its A350 with 297 seats, featuring 46 business class seats, 43 in Economy comfort and 208 in Economy. The airline will become the third airline in the world to operate the Airbus A350, following Qatar Airways in December 2014 and Vietnam Airlines last June 30.
Meanwhile, Airbus also announced yesterday that the first of 27 A350 XWB for TAM Airlines has rolled out of the paint shop wearing its distinctive red, white and blue livery. Despite that LATAM Airlines’ announced a new corporate image last August, initial A350 deliveries will carry the current livery as the new livery will be unveiled early next year.
The São Paulo-based airline has announced that initial A350 flights will be to Manaus in January, followed by service to Miami in March and Madrid in April. These aircraft will be configured with 348 seats – 30 in business class, and 318 in economy, featuring the new and unified cabin, already installed in the Boeing 787-9 aircraft operated by LAN.