MIAMI — British Airways has finally taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-1000 (G-XWBA • MSN CN326) straight from Toulouse, France. The original delivery date was pushed for one day due to ATC strikes and poor weather conditions in Southern France.
The British carrier has further 17 Airbus A350-1000s on order and expects to receive all the aircraft by the end of 2022.
According to British Airways, these planes will replace some of its 33 remaining Boeing 747-400s, which are scheduled to be retired by February 2024.
The brand-new Airbus A350-1000 arrived at the airline’s base in London-Heathrow just after 14:00 local time, routing from Toulouse (TLS), via Chateauroux (CHR) to London-Heathrow (LHR). The stop in Chateauroux was for crew training purposes.
After much speculation, British Airways managed to become the first A350-1000 operator in the United Kingdom—just a few days ahead of its contender, Virgin Atlantic.
The new plane comes with the airline’s all-new Club World product, as its current Business Class offering is outdated and not a favorite amongst the flying community. The airline hopes that the new seat will change this perception.
British Airways plans to start retrofitting the new cabin concept to some of its oldest aircraft later this year, starting with some Boeing 777s. The airline expects to roll out the first retrofit in early 2020. With the number of retrofitted aircraft increasing each month.
On the brand-new A350-1000s, the airline will offer three cabins of service, with 56 Club World (Business Class) seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, followed by 56 World Traveler Plus (Premium Economy) seats right behind. There will be 219 World Traveler (Economy Class) seats on the rear end of the cabin. A total of 331 passengers will be able to fly on the brand-new aircraft’s three cabins.
The new plane will now be deployed on crew familiarization flights between London-Heathrow and Madrid, replacing the mix of Boeing 777-200/300ERs that currently operate certain flights on the route. These are set to start around August 6, 2019.
British Airways confirmed that the inaugural A350-1000 revenue flight will be between London-Heathrow and Dubai on September 2, 2019.