MIAMI — China Airlines (CAL) has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the ninth airline to operate the twin engine widebody airliner.

The first aircraft (F-WZGV • B-18901 • MSN 049) emerged last August from the Roger Béteille Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France, and is the 40th A350 XWB delivered. This is the first of 14 A350s on order, and it is expected to be initially deployed on CAL’s regional services between Taipei and Hong-Kong for crew training and familiarization purposes.

Phil Harris, SVP Sales-Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Nuan-Hsuan Ho China Airlines Chairman, Didier Evrard, Airbus Executive Vice President Program, Ming-Zong Zhang, Representative of Taiwan in France. (Credits: Airbus)
Phil Harris, SVP Sales-Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Nuan-Hsuan Ho China Airlines Chairman, Didier Evrard, Airbus Executive Vice President Program, Ming-Zong Zhang, Representative of Taiwan in France. (Credits: Airbus)

The A350-900 will join China Airlines’ other Airbus fleet including 24 A330s and four A340s. The carrier announced that the initial A350 long-haul operations will be to Amsterdam, followed by Vienna and Rome, set to start on December 1.

The jetliner has a seating capacity of 306 — 32 in the business class, 31 in premium economy, and 243 in economy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWw75tzdvNw

The first A350-900 was scheduled to be delivered to CAL in July, and three others by the end of the year. However, the aircraft was delivered on Friday September 30 due to the delays related to the backlog of aircraft ready to enter cabin completion stations on the final assembly line in Toulouse. Another is scheduled by the end of the year as Airbus races to meet its aggressive delivery target of 50 A350s delivered in 2016.