British Airways (BA) has accepted its first Airbus A350-1000, making it the first operator of the larger variant in Europe. The maiden example, G-XWBA (c/n 326), touched down at the centenarian carrier’s London/Heathrow base on July 27 after a 24-hour delay owing to weather and ATC issues.
The aircraft – an initial from an April 2013 order for 18 – is configured with a three-class cabin and is the first to be fitted with the airline’s new Club Suite business class offering. It boasts an 18.5in (47cm) in-flight entertainment screen, a suite door for greater privacy and Collins Aerospace’s Super Diamond seat.
Welcoming the aircraft to Heathrow, Carolina Martinoli, BA’s brand and customer experience director said: “This aircraft marks a significant and exciting milestone in our £6.5bn investment programme and is even more special as it comes with our new Club Suite. The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and an excellent showpiece for British engineering. Our customers are going to love the space, light and comfort on board.”
The three-class layout includes 56 Club Suites, 56 World Traveller Plus and 219 World Traveller economy seats.
BA operates a fleet of 156 Airbus aircraft including examples of the European manufacturer’s smallest and largest products – the A318 and A380. A further three A350-1000s are scheduled to join the fleet by the end of this year.
The carrier is expected to initially deploy the aircraft on crew familiarisation flights to Madrid from August 7, before long-haul links are introduced in September. The airliner will likely connect Heathrow with Dubai before services to Toronto, Tel Aviv and Bangalore are phased in as more aircraft are delivered.