MIAMI — It’s been a busy day in Toulouse. After Delta’s first Airbus A330-900neo took off on its maiden flight, Etihad’s first A350-1000 was spotted arriving from Hamburg sporting the airline’s full livery.
The stunning airliner emerged from the final assembly line back in late March, allowing Airbus to perform enough tests to see it become airborne.
The plane’s first flight took place on April 4, 2019, without the airline’s colors. Today, however, the plane returned to Toulouse in all its glory.
The Airbus A350-1000 is the largest variant of the manufacturer’s newest-generation twin-aisle program. Out of 180 orders placed, only 18 deliveries have been registered thus far.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are set to become the next A350-1000 operators shortly, with Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific already flying the variant on numerous long-haul routes.
As far as Etihad is concerned, following stiff financial woes—which translated into US$3 billion in losses—the airline has decided to commit to taking delivery of only five airframes out of the 20 units it had originally ordered.
Etihad’s initial order was composed of 40 A350-900s and 22 -1000s, together with 26 A321neos, eight Boeing 777-8s, and 17 777-9s.