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'Touchdown of a new Air India...' Country's first Airbus A350-900 welcomed at Delhi Airport

The A350-900, boasting a non-stop flight time of 16-17 hours, is expected to provide Air India with a competitive edge in long-haul routes. The airline has ordered a total of 70 wide-body aircraft, including 40 Airbus A350s. The A350-900 will undergo regulatory procedures in Delhi before commencing passenger services

Touchdown of a new Air India Country's first Airbus A350-900 welcomed at Delhi Airport
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First Published Dec 23, 2023, 4:27 PM IST

The first Airbus A350-900 has landed in India, with Air India livery. The aircraft received a grand welcome at the Delhi Airport. In a post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Air India said: "India's first @Airbus A350-900 has come home in the bold, new Air India livery, and it received a grand welcome at @DelhiAirport. It is the touchdown of a new Air India. For a new, resurgent India.

Upon reaching Delhi, the inaugural A350-900 aircraft adorned with Air India's refreshed livery and interior will undergo several post-arrival regulatory procedures. These include customs clearance, equipment checks by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), ground tests, and proving flights to ensure operational readiness before passenger services commence.

About the Airbus A350-900

Manufactured by Airbus, the A350-900 boasts an impressive non-stop flight time of 16-17 hours, with a maximum range of up to 20 hours. This capability is expected to provide Air India with a competitive advantage in the long-haul segment originating from India. Air India has ordered a total of 70 wide-body aircraft, and the A350-900 is a significant part of this fleet renewal. Airbus reports that this aircraft burns 25% less fuel compared to its older counterparts.

In February, Air India placed an extensive order for 70 wide-body and 400 narrow-body aircraft from both Boeing and Airbus. The order comprises 40 Airbus A350s, 20 Boeing B787s, and 10 Boeing B777-9s for wide-body aircraft, along with 210 Airbus A320/321 Neos and 190 Boeing B737 MAX single-aisle aircraft.

Originally, in the category of Rolls Royce engine-powered A350s, Air India had ordered 34 Airbus A350-1000s and six A350-900 wide-body jets. However, the order was later modified to include 20 aircraft in each segment.

The first six A350s to join Air India's fleet were initially part of the delivery schedule for Russian airline Aeroflot. Configured with 28 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 264 economy seats, these aircraft mark a significant step in Air India's modernization and expansion efforts.

Chief of Air India, Campbell Wilson, disclosed to staff members on Friday that the initial deployment of the A350-900 will focus on short-haul routes, as reported by PTI. The airline has ambitious plans to introduce a total of six A350 planes in the first phase of its fleet expansion.

Wilson outlined the strategic approach, emphasizing that the initial phase will entail operating short sectors to familiarize pilots with the new aircraft. Experienced instructors will oversee this process, cultivating a skilled pool to support long-haul A350 operations later in the year.

In addition to advancing its fleet, Air India is undergoing a modernization of its image. The CEO and Managing Director announced the forthcoming introduction of new uniforms for the airline's ground staff and Air India Express staff, following the recent unveiling of updated uniforms for the cabin and cockpit crew.

The Tata Group-owned carrier has already obtained regulatory approval for the engineering line maintenance of A350 aircraft. This significant milestone ensures the seamless operation and maintenance of all six A350 planes scheduled for induction into the fleet, underscoring Air India's commitment to aviation excellence.

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