Airbus has handed over the first A350-900s to Air China and Sichuan Airlines in a double celebration at its Toulouse facility.
The flag carrier is the first Chinese airline to receive the A350 XWB following the delayed validation of the type’s airworthiness certification by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). EASA’s A350 type certificate was finally validated by CAAC on July 16 allowing for the final preparations to be made for the aircraft’s handover.
Air China’s first of ten A350 XWBs, B-1086 (c/n 167) features a three-class layout of 312 seats, comprising 32 business, 24 premium economy and 256 economy. The airline said it intended to operate the aircraft initially on domestic rotations to build crew familiarity before launching on its long-haul network.
Meanwhile, on a busy day in Toulouse Sichuan Airlines also took delivery of its maiden A350-900, B-301D (c/n 060). This aircraft, acquired from AerCap, is one of 14 examples on order, four of which will be leased while a further ten will be purchased directly from the manufacturer.