ATLANTA — The first Airbus A350XWB destined for Delta Air Lines completed its first flight this morning in Toulouse, France. The aircraft (MSN 115), registered under French test registration F-WZGP, will soon be the flagship of the Delta fleet under the registration N501DN.
The aircraft took off from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport this morning at 10:24 local, and almost immediately climbed towards the Bay of Biscay where it completed several hours of tests at a variety of altitudes.
Delta is scheduled to take delivery of N501DN in July, with entry into service coming in the fall. As the aircraft will be a first for Delta, they are expected to introduce the A350 into the fleet with several short proving runs before sending it on long-haul missions. Delta’s first A350 crew base will be Detroit where the A350s will replace outgoing 747s on routes such as Tokyo-Narita, Seoul, and Shanghai.
The A350 will be the launch airplane for Delta’s new all-suite business class product. The A350 will feature 32 business class suites, 48 Delta Comfort + seats, and 226 economy seats for a total of 306 passengers.
Currently, Delta’s second and third A350s are in final assembly in Toulouse, France. Their fourth A350 is scheduled to begin final assembly in early June.
— Benjamin Bearup (@TheAviationBeat) May 5, 2017
Just this month, Delta follows the likes of United and American Airlines in deferring a portion of their A350 order. As part of an order for 30 A321 aircraft, Delta announced that four A350s due in 2018 will be deferred until 2019-2020. Delta is scheduled to take delivery of five A350s in 2017, followed by six more in 2018.