MIAMI — Following a special ceremony held in Airbus premises in Toulouse today, Vietnam Airlines has taken delivery of the first A350-900 aircraft on a lease from AerCap. Altogether, the airline is set to acquire 14 A350 XWB, including 10 ordered directly to Airbus and four from lessors.
The aircraft, scheduled to arrive to Hanoi tomorrow, will inaugurate commercial service later this week, initially on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh domestic sector and then on non-stop flights from Hanoi to Paris, and it will be progressively deployed for its operation on long haul routes, thus expanding the airline fleet comprised by Airbus A321, A330 and Boeing 777 aircraft.
“The arrival of the A350 XWB marks the start of a major upgrade of our long haul fleet,” said Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Executive Vice President, Commercial, Vietnam Airlines. “Combining the latest technologies, a wider cabin and the highest levels of comfort, the A350 XWB will enable us to fly our passengers in style whichever class of travel they choose. We are proud to be the second airline in the world to receive the A350 XWB aircraft which is a step forward that helps us to fulfill our commitment to “reach further.”
Vietnam Airlines opted to configure its A350 fleet with a premium three-class layout, 29 Business Class seats, 45 Premium Economy and 231 in Economy Class, complemented with a state-of-the-art in flight entertainment and connectivity, intended to bring a new level of service to passengers while also benefiting from enhanced profitability and increased competitiveness in the long-haul premium sector.
Vietnam is a key growth market in Asia and is expected to continue to record much higher-than-average growth in traffic – estimated at approximately 8.4 per cent annually over the next 20 years, according to Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast.
“We are proud to see Vietnam Airlines become the second airline in the world to operate the A350 XWB,” said Fabrice Brégier, President and CEO, Airbus. “We are confident that the all-new A350 XWB will enable Vietnam Airlines to consolidate its position as one of Asia’s leading international carriers, bringing its passengers the best the industry has to offer.”
To date, Airbus has recorded a total of 781 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 40 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful wide-body aircraft ever. The aircraft handed over today is the fifth A350 XWB to be delivered, following the type’s entry into commercial service with Qatar Airways—its first operator—earlier this year.