MIAMI — The first Airbus A350-1000 for British Airways has seen the sunlight at the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France.
The aircraft rolled out of the airplane factory without its engines and only the tail painted in the airline’s colors, carrying the manufacturing serial number MSN326. This airplane will bear the registration G-XWBA when delivered to the British carrier.
British Airways will become the second European and UK-based airline to operate the largest variant in the A350 family, following Virgin Atlantic, who is set to become the first operator of the type in the region.
British Airways expects to receive 18 A350-1000s, starting from July 2019. This order was placed by IAG in 2013, consisting of 18 planes plus 18 options.
The A350-1000 order comes in addition to 18 Boeing 787 options which the conglomerated had previously committed to.
British Airways will replace its aging Boeing 747-400s with the brand-new incoming planes. The airline has noted that the retirement of the Queen of the Skies will take between four to five years, ending in 2023.
The carrier’s brand-new A350s will be powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. According to IAG, the order includes a comprehensive maintenance package with total care agreement.
New Plane, New Cabins
The new Airbus A350-100s will be configured with 331 seats, distributed in three cabins.
With the introduction of the A350 to the airline’s fleet, British Airways revealed an all-new Business Class product that will be equipped on the new planes, as well as retrofit the current 777 product that’s on offer.
The new Club Suite will offer the airline’s premium travelers direct-aisle access, a suite door, and a full-flat bed. The cabin’s configuration is laid out in a 1-2-1 scheme.
Also, each seat comes with plenty more space for storage, a vanity mirror, an 18.5-inch IFE screen, and the customary power ports.
Alex Cruz, the carrier’s CEO, noted that the new cabins are part of an “exciting development in our £6.5 billion investment program.”
“Its unveiling has certainly been highly-anticipated and represents a significant improvement on the product BA currently offers across much of its wide body fleet,” Cruz said.
According to the airline, these planes will be painted with the current British Airways livery.
Stay tuned for more British Airways A350-1000 photos.